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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2018 Week 03 Hansard (Thursday, 22 March 2018) . . Page.. 921 ..


OneLink is the central information and access point for human services, including homelessness, disability and family support services. OneLink replaced First Point and the Child Youth and Family Gateway in 2016 and is operated by Woden Community Services. The advantages of the OneLink human services gateway approach have been enhanced through an intentional change in policy direction to support a greater focus on intervention.

Since early 2015, government and community service providers have been working closely together in the interest of achieving the best possible outcomes. Through this collaborative approach, specialist homeless services have greater flexibility to assist people in all forms.

Under these arrangements, specialist homelessness services provide assistance to people with tenancy issues and can tap into additional support as part of their flexible case management approach. Additional support can be provided through the supportive tenancy service, which specialises in providing assistance to those people whose residential tenure is at risk, including people with mortgages, in private rentals and in public or community housing.

This means that specialist homelessness services are assisting not only people who are homeless but also people who are at imminent risk of being homeless. They work to help people in these situations achieve as much self-reliance and independence as possible by helping them to resolve crises, re-establish family and community links where appropriate and re-establish their capacity to live independently and achieve sustainable housing and social inclusion.

The ACT specialist housing sector works intensely with Canberrans, working with them for up to twice as long as the national average in order that they sustain the changes that deliver better housing outcomes. All up, the ACT government spends $20 million a year on a range of programs to assist people who are homeless or at risk of homelessness. As a consequence, ACT homelessness services are achieving great outcomes by ensuring that more people are in independent housing at the end of support, have an income to enable them to sustain this housing and have improved employment or training circumstances.

In these areas we are ahead of most jurisdictions. These are great outcomes. It is the great work of the ACT homelessness services that has brought about this reduction in homelessness, and I thank them for the important work they do for the community. But there is another area of the census data where more work needs to be done: rough sleepers. The 2016 census data shows that there has been an increase in rough sleepers, from 28 in 2011 to 54 in 2016. While the ACT still has the lowest rate of rough sleepers in Australia, this is a substantial increase.

It is important to be clear on what is meant by rough sleeping. Rough sleeping is a type of homelessness where you are living on the street and sleeping in places that are not designed to be slept in, such as in parks, building doorways, bus shelters and cars. Most people who are homeless in the ACT do not sleep rough. They are supported in


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