Page 45 - Week 01 - Tuesday, 15 February 2011

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MS BURCH: There would be no doubt different spikes along a calendar in different areas for accommodation and with the influx through our wonderful educational institutions of students there is certainly a stretch for accommodation. But this is why we are continuing to invest not only in the beds. The beds and a roof over their heads are certainly a significant and important part of it, but it is the other services, the preventative services as well, and that would go to our investment in the early morning centre within Civic as well. So it is the beds, it is the roof over their heads, but it is the support services as well that we continue to invest in.

I am quite happy to talk with my department to see whether as we seasonally look at transitional accommodation to support women who may be experiencing domestic violence over Christmas we also need to factor in some other expected calendar spikes as well.

MS LE COUTEUR: A supplementary, Mr Speaker?

MR SPEAKER: Yes, Ms Le Couteur.

MS LE COUTEUR: Minister, now many nights a year does Canberra’s demand for beds for homeless people outstrip the supply of beds available?

MS BURCH: I am quite happy to come back with the detail, but it is my understanding that out of those that are seeking accommodation we would accommodate the high nineties of every hundred that are seeking accommodation. The bulk of those, though, we recognise, are continuing their nights. That is the challenge. How do we get them through emergency accommodation into more long-term sustainable accommodation? That is one of those bits of work that we need to work through. Within Housing ACT at any given time we would have accommodation available, not necessarily in an emergency response but to better facilitate that throughput from emergency accommodation into more permanent or more sustainable long-term accommodation. But I understand—I can get the figure back to you—that it is certainly the high nineties out of a hundred that we are able to accommodate.

MR COE: A supplementary, Mr Speaker.

MR SPEAKER: Yes, Mr Coe.

MR COE: Thank you, Mr Speaker. Minister, what communication have you or your department had with the ABS with regard to the census and how it can better collate information regarding homelessness?

MS BURCH: Collecting data on homelessness is a challenge not just for here; it is across the board. The department does talk with ABS around the census night and how we can better support that. Certainly the information and the data that we would get through our homelessness services, now that we have got a centralised point with first point, would also give us more informed intelligence about homeless nights and the numbers that are seeking accommodation per night.

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