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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2003 Week 5 Hansard (7 May) . . Page.. 1634 ..

MR WOOD (continuing):

announce that we are providing an unprecedented $13.3 million over four years to address the problem. The fund targets the priority areas mentioned in the reports you quoted, Mr Hargreaves, and that is much needed.

Those reports have provided guidance to us in the development of a vision of an integrated response to this complex issue. A homeless advisory group, comprising community and government representatives, is working on the government's first homelessness strategy. But we are not waiting for that-we will obviously be attending to it-we are providing the money now: $13.3 million over four years. That is one aspect of what we are doing broadly in the area of housing.

The initiatives in our proposal will address the root causes of homelessness and seek sustainable solutions to the problem by assisting people to gain independent living skills and reducing the likelihood of recurring homelessness.

A total of $2.4 million will be expended in the coming financial year to support homeless families, men and couples-through the provision of short-term supported accommodation places. This component increases the quantum of supported accommodation available to people in a crisis that can often be lifelong and, increasingly, generational. In the first year, an additional 15 supported houses will be available for individual families. A further 10 medium-term places will be available for single men, and crisis accommodation for six couples will be available.

The proposal includes strategies to ensure that the supported accommodation assistance program, SAAP, which we on this side know well, is well placed to respond to the needs of people, including children, affected by homelessness. Services will have increased capacity to respond flexibly to individual circumstances and, very importantly, to provide outreach support to people to maintain independent living arrangements, so that we stop the cycle of people moving in and out of supported accommodation.

The budget includes recurrent funding for a pilot advisory service to assist SAAP to ensure that service models are accessible and responsive to indigenous people, people with mental health needs and people from culturally and linguistically diverse backgrounds. Mr Hargreaves, we are attending to it.

MR HARGREAVES: My supplementary question is: as well as addressing homelessness, what is the government doing to expand housing options for those on a low income?

MR WOOD: We are doing quite a deal now carrying on programs. The government will continue to respond to the recent reviews into Ainslie Village, in particular to the potential for long-term housing options at that site. It will also work with residents, and Centacare, to address immediate fire and safety priorities. A total of $1.4 million over four years is provided to address those concerns. On a recent visit there I saw the newly finished adult night shelter, which will be operational by the end of June.

The well-known boarding house program includes accommodation for young people and single people, and there is the one for older women. An important initiative, which I announced a little while ago, was the integrated crisis and emergency

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