Page 111 - Week 01 - Tuesday, 8 February 2022

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homelessness, escaping domestic and family violence, in unhealthy and inappropriate living conditions, and for whom housing costs are unaffordable.

It also highlights some significant challenges. While there has always been significant demand for social housing, the last two years have seen unprecedented events, particularly the COVID pandemic and the associated lockdowns, that have created significant pressures on the system, with many people impacted by economic shocks, health shocks and increased financial pressure. It has also created some delay in our ability to deliver more public housing, with construction shutdowns and significant supply issues.

The ROGS data provides important information regarding the situation in relation to homelessness services in the ACT. The report reflects the increasingly complex needs of people who are engaging with services and identifies that there are people who do not get all of the services they need. It is pleasing, however, to see that only four per cent of clients were not provided with any service they needed. This result has significantly improved from 13.5 per cent in the previous year.

Since February last year our government has committed more than $12 million in addition to the more than $25 million that is provided annually to support people who are at risk of or experiencing homelessness. Here in the ACT we are really proud of the work that we have undertaken with our community partners on the central homelessness intake service. This makes the quality of our reporting very high, and we are confident that we are accurately identifying how our services need to expand and change to meet community needs.

Through the 2020 lockdown we worked with community partners to stand up new services and ensure that everyone had access to accommodation. In February’s budget we continued to support these new services, including Winter Lodge for men and MacKillop House for women with or without children, and to expand the Axial Housing program for rough sleepers, providing a housing first for this group of people with very complex needs.

In the 2021-22 budget we have also announced an additional $8 million in funds to provide a base increase to specialist homelessness services, representing a nine per cent increase in real terms—the first in many years.

Responding to the 2021 lockdowns, we moved quickly to ensure that there was emergency accommodation for individuals and families who needed it. With interstate borders shut, isolation requirements and increased pressure coming from the stressful event, this need was significant. I would like to thank OneLink, specialist homelessness services and hotel providers who assisted us in ensuring that everyone had an offer of somewhere safe to stay.

Following this, we have continued to work with community partners to ensure that more resources can be provided to support people with complex needs. I am pleased that we are embedding mental health support into some of our rough sleeper outreach services. This has all been possible through an additional investment of more than

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