Page 4637 - Week 14 - Thursday, 24 November 2005

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Community organisations have contributed enormously to the development and the implementation of the strategy to date. Their involvement in the various working groups and willingness to embrace new ways of working to reform the service system have enabled many achievements. The progress identified in this report is shared progress born from a shared commitment to responding to homelessness. That is a real partnership.

As you would be aware, Mr Temporary Deputy Speaker, the Stanhope government underpinned the homelessness strategy with an ACT government commitment of $2.4 million in 2003-04, increasing to $3.093 million in 2004-05, and $3.89 million in 2005-06, to reflect the expansion of supported accommodation services, and then indexed in 2006-07. This and further ACT funding initiatives have formed an integral part of the implementation of Breaking the cycle, establishing new services which respond to priority targets.

Services established through these initiatives increased the capacity of the total sector by 30 per cent and, in the case of some target groups, such as funding allocated to support homeless couples, created the ACT’s first service response. This funding represents an 86 per cent increase in ACT government funding to SAAP. The nine new services funded in June 2004 through this initiative have already established themselves in the ACT community sector.

These services include accommodation for 20 single men, five of whom are exiting or involved in the criminal justice system; support accommodation for six single men and their children; support and accommodation for 18 families in the Gungahlin, west Belconnen and Tuggeranong regions; outreach services for single women, young people and men with or without children; and recurrent funding for the Canberra Emergency Accommodation Service, CEAS, which brokers emergency accommodation in a range of pre-leased sites such as caravans and motels to enable short-term responses with some case management support and which provides 24-hour counselling.

The Chief Minister’s Community Inclusion Board has provided additional funding for support services for homeless people, including the Early Morning Centre, which provides free breakfast, and a drop-in centre for people who are homeless or at risk of homelessness. There are many successes to date in implementing the strategy. Yet this progress report identifies also that there is much work to be done.

A priority issue for 2005-06 will be to establish supported accommodation, outreach and hostel services for Aboriginals and Torres Strait Islanders. These people are overly represented in the homelessness population, and we must ensure that these services, when established, are responsive and meet the needs of this target group.

I table this progress report on behalf of the ACT Homelessness Committee and thank its members for their ongoing commitment and work. I look forward to future reports and achievements as we address and respond to the causes and effects of homelessness as a community.

Finally, I express my appreciation, as I have already done, I suppose, to the community sector for its involvement and its commitment to this, in partnership with the

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