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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2003 Week 1 Hansard (20 February) . . Page.. 340 ..

MS GALLAGHER (continuing):

ACT Housing, along with other government agencies, also provides funding to CARE for credit and debt counselling service, to facilitate access for public housing tenants. Winnunga Nimmitjah is an Aboriginal Health Service for delivery of an indigenous housing liaison service. That provides information, advice and assistance on housing-related issues. There is also Homelinx, under which community organisations employ four youth housing workers to assist young people with advocacy, referral, information, education liaison, crisis intervention, household management, and follow-up services in relation to housing needs.

Another program-the boarding house program-has been developed in response to an increasing need for cost-effective supportive singles accommodation identified by the poverty task group, the youth housing task force, and the Assembly Health and Community Care Committee Inquiry into Elder Abuse. This program will provide supportive accommodation which offers an exit from SAPP services into more independent living. Security of tenure for public housing tenants was restored on 10 December last year, fulfilling let another election promise, Mr Speaker.

In addition, this government's formation of the new Department of Disability, Housing and Community Services will result in the provision of more integrated services, and greater synchronisation of program development and service delivery. A more coordinated response to service provision for people with special or complex needs will be possible. We will be able to respond to issues raised in reports such as the Gallop inquiry in a holistic and systemic, way. Mr Speaker, within my own portfolio responsibilities, the Department of Education, Youth and Family Services also works closely with ACT Housing to provide support to families in need.

The support services provided by the department are not targeted solely at public housing tenants, but at all families, young people, and children in need. Obviously, however, many of those in need are also public housing tenants, and family services works cooperatively with ACT Housing to support any clients they have in common.

One of the support services provided is the schools as community program, which employs community outreach workers to provide support to families and targeted schools in the ACT. Currently, outreach workers are located at 10 schools in the ACT-Macgregor, Charnwood, Higgins and Holt Primary Schools, Ginninderra District High, Narrabundah, Isabella Plains, Richardson and Charles Condor Primary Schools-and Calwell High.

The community outreach workers offer assistance to families across a range of issues. This support often includes assistance with housing-related issues. Outreach workers work cooperatively with ACT Housing and, in particular, with the specialist ACT Housing workers to assist families to deal with the issues related to their accommodation. Schools as communities program workers also attend forums with other Housing workers to ensure cooperation between sectors.

There are a number of other social support programs provided, either directly by the department or by community agencies, with government funding assistance, which target disadvantaged and at-risk youth and indigenous families, for example.

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