Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2010 Week 03 Hansard (Thursday, 18 March 2010) . . Page.. 1145 ..
As Ms Porter has also mentioned, there are specific programs, such as the very successful HASI project which began in Sydney, and it is very good to see that it is to be piloted in the ACT. This does provide a high-level service to people with high needs. There are, however, a significant number of people with mental illness who will not be able to access this project and may be at risk of homelessness if they do not access appropriate housing or receive the necessary support services.
It is worth emphasising again the importance of having a variety of options for people who are vulnerable, at risk of homelessness and in other high-needs groups. Discussing social housing options is relevant, as a lack of suitable housing increases the risk of homelessness. A range of options is needed, and this includes emergency housing, community housing and public housing. They all have a role to offer. It is acknowledged by organisations and the community housing sector that this is needed.
Community housing will be appropriate for some people, and this often depends on their specific needs, whether they are able to afford 75 per cent of market rent and other factors. However, some public housing will be the most appropriate option. It offers a greater security of tenure, which includes the fact that there is a tribunal process available to deal with tenancies in the instances where it is required. Affordable housing will be suitable for others but, again, it is if their circumstances and means enable this, including being able to maintain stable housing, which is a crucial factor in all of this.
The reality is that there are vulnerable people in the community who need housing and who also may need assistance. Some people need significant assistance simply to maintain their housing. Ignoring this fact places people in danger of homelessness, which then affects every other area of their lives.
I would also just quickly like to read from the YWCA submission to the DHCS paper in discussing that ongoing need to have a range of housing options for people:
Our experience working with people facing homelessness is that crises such as those outlined above —
which included loss of job, ill health, family crisis, domestic violence, accidents at work—
can mean that very quickly people are without income and having to rely on a welfare payment that will not adequately cover the cost of housing. Currently, public housing is the only viable option for these people, and with the system unable to cope with the current demand, it seems the goal of halving homelessness will not be able to be achieved without significantly increasing public housing stock, or other affordable housing options, beyond what is being proposed.
MR COE (Ginninderra) (3.49): I too believe that it is important to have a comprehensive strategy to address homelessness here in the ACT. I think it is important that any set of programs designed to reduce homelessness does not simply address the short-term issues of homelessness but is genuinely strategic, including