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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2021 Week 08 Hansard (Tuesday, 3 August 2021) . . Page.. 2181 ..

The service funding agreement extension includes a community sector sustainability review, jointly funded by the Community Services Directorate and community services sector, due to be finalised at the end of 2021. The review will be used to examine the level and cost of services, outputs and outcomes and the needs of all the sector stakeholders to inform future service design and service system enhancements to improve outcomes for the sector and the community.

As we move forward, it is important that our services can continue to meet the needs of existing cohorts and are prepared to respond to emerging needs. The sector has demonstrated its capacity to respond rapidly to changing needs and circumstances during COVID-19. The ACT government thanks them for their selfless, hard work.

While I have spoken about new initiatives focused on supporting our community, it is important to recognise the services that have worked tirelessly to help people experiencing homelessness throughout this ongoing pandemic. Street to Home provide daily support and case management to Canberrans experiencing homelessness. Workers actively seek out those sleeping rough and engage with them to build relationships, and this is based on understanding and respect.

Red Cross Canberra Roadhouse, the Early Morning Centre and the Blue Door at Ainslie Village all provide free food services. Red Cross Canberra Roadhouse and the Early Morning Centre provide dine-in options for patrons and guests in compliance with COVID-19 restrictions. The Early Morning Centre also hosts several inclusive and skills-building support services, including arts and craft classes, phone, computer, and internet access, some of which have been able to be recommenced since May 2021.

I thank these services for their commitment to and support of the COVID-19 physical distancing restrictions. This includes providing face mask help and checking in through the Check In CBR app for people sleeping rough who may not have access to a mobile phone.

I also mention and thank Housing ACT staff who continue to deliver and adapt services to the community throughout the COVID-19 pandemic in line with the restrictions. While standard face-to-face visits were on hold from March 2020 to 2 June 2020, Housing ACT made phone contact with public housing tenants to check on their health and wellbeing. The start of the pandemic caused a lot of financial stress for Canberrans and hit public housing tenants particularly hard.

One of the ACT government’s first responses was to provide one-off $250 payments to public housing households. Housing ACT worked diligently to ensure that all households received this funding. The central access point for tenants, located at Nature Conservation House in Belconnen, has remained open to ensure that everyone has a degree of face-to-face support.

Importantly, this period signified true collaboration across our government, with Housing ACT, ACT Health and the Community Services Directorate undertaking logistical planning and preparedness for outbreak management. The local response

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