Page 5560 - Week 15 - Wednesday, 9 December 2009

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refuge being forced to send away two-thirds of women seeking shelter. In 2009-10, $3,702,662 in funding has been made available for services to women and children escaping domestic violence in the ACT. These services include Beryl Women Inc, Communities at Work, Domestic Violence Crisis Service, Doris Women’s Refuge and Northside Community Service. Across these services, 88 bed nights were available each night—that is 32,120 bed nights annually. In addition to the specialist domestic violence service, women and children subjected to domestic violence can access a range of homelessness services within the broader system of support.

ACT homelessness services have the capacity to provide a total of 300 supported accommodation places per night for young people, singles and families. In addition, the Domestic Violence Crisis Service will guarantee accommodation for any person in need of immediate safety accommodation made available through brokerage funding provided by DHCS. Outreach support is also made available to clients who require assistance to live independently.

Housing ACT provides safety upgrades to public housing tenant properties subject to domestic violence. Under the 2009-10 domestic violence Christmas initiative—and I think I spoke to that briefly yesterday—the department is providing 11 properties for women and children over the Christmas period, and $90,000 in funding is provided for this program. In the 2008-09 Christmas period, 980 bed nights were provided.

The ACT has the largest per capita amount of funding for homelessness services of any state or territory. In 2009-10 a total of $18,575,000 is made available by the ACT and commonwealth governments for direct funding for homelessness services. An additional $20.2 million over five years is provided under the homelessness national partnership.

In relation to unmet demand, there is a national data collection undertaken annually by the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare. The most recent figures are for 2007-08, and the data shows that, in the ACT, 97.6 per cent of people seeking accommodation under homelessness services were accommodated. The turnaway rate as a proportion of total demand for homelessness accommodation under the supported accommodation assistance program was 2.4 per cent, which is 12 people per night. This is below the national turnaway rate of 2.6 per cent, and it is an improvement on 2006-07. The data does not show the cause of people seeking assistance or if they subsequently received an alternative form of assistance, such as motel brokerage from organisations such as DVCS.

As I have already stated, additional funding is being provided to the ACT to meet this unmet demand. An additional $20.2 million over five years is provided under the homelessness agreement, jointly funded by the ACT and commonwealth governments. The sum of $10 million will provide 20 properties under the place to call home program. A further $10 million will provide new services for people experiencing or at risk of homelessness due to mental illness.

There will be a new service for rough sleepers and supports for tenants in both public and private tenancies to sustain those tenancies and to avoid homelessness. A central

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