Page 2144 - Week 07 - Tuesday, 2 August 2022

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MADAM SPEAKER: No. You missed out.


MR DAVIS: My question is to the Minister for Homelessness and Housing Services. Minister, yesterday marked the beginning of National Homelessness Week, where we learn and reflect on the more than 116,000 Australians who sleep rough every night. Here in the ACT, Mission Australia released a report last week that found that nearly one in 20 people aged between 15 and 19 experienced homelessness in our city for the first time during the pandemic. What is the ACT government doing to help young people specifically who are at risk of or experiencing homelessness?

MS VASSAROTTI: Thank you, Mr Davis, for the question. Once again, reading some of the statistics, particularly from the Mission Australia report, was really distressing, particularly when we hear of young people experiencing homelessness. This report specifically looked at the issues through the COVID-19 pandemic, which was particularly difficult for many Canberrans, including young people. Throughout the pandemic, the ACT government worked with community partners to provide a range of different services to ensure that people were not in a situation where they needed to sleep rough or experience homelessness. One of the programs was some flexible funding.

I think the member would be really interested to know about how the pandemic created a situation where community organisations were able to come together to look at different ways of providing accommodation to young people. A good example is that of two organisations that were working to support two transgender young people. They were able to come together and bring a different expertise in order to provide services.

There is a range of services that are being funded through the ACT government. This includes funding to Barnardos Australia, the Salvation Army, the Ted Noffs Foundation, CatholicCare, St Vincent de Paul, the Conflict Resolution Service and the Gugan Gulwan Youth Aboriginal Corporation. My colleague Minister Stephen-Smith is also working on Safe and Connected Youth to support young people who are at risk of homelessness due to family conflict. There is also work going on right now in terms of the CIT Youth Foyer. That will provide stable accommodation for young people at risk of homelessness as they study and develop lifelong skills.

MR DAVIS: Minister, you mentioned a lot of organisations that the government is working with. What have those organisations told you, through the commissioning process, that they need to better deliver these services?

MS VASSAROTTI: Thank you, Mr Davis, for the question. We are working in close partnership with homelessness services around a commissioning process. This is a codesign process where we are working to identify the particular issues that are being faced by people across the continuum, including young people. We have been working closely with them to understand not only the challenges being faced around shelter but also what we need to do to support them to live, learn, grow and work in the community.

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