Page 2826 - Week 07 - Wednesday, 29 June 2011

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MR SESELJA: Minister, what action are you taking to work with the Women’s Legal Centre to develop a solution for their future accommodation needs, and when will these needs be met?

MR CORBELL: I will continue to meet with, and my director will continue to meet with, the Women’s Legal Centre as required to discuss and identify opportunities for improving their accommodation.

Homeless people—services

MS BRESNAN: My question is to the minister for housing and concerns homeless people who sleep rough in the ACT. Minister, what has been the government’s response to requests from groups and organisations who assist people that sleep rough that we need a shelter in Canberra, particularly for the winter months?

MS BURCH: I thank Ms Bresnan for her question. Every winter, across any society, people think about those that are sleeping rough, and a shelter by many is considered a solution to that. I asked, following quite significant awareness that came from the CEO sleep-out, the department to consider additional transitional properties. So we have commenced a conversation with St Vinnie’s, who manage the street to home program, to make available through them, for clients that they see that are sleeping rough, access to accommodation.

MR SPEAKER: A supplementary, Ms Bresnan?

MS BRESNAN: Thank you, Mr Speaker. Minister, where do people who sleep rough currently go to have a shower and use bathroom and other such basic facilities in a safe location?

MS BURCH: I thank Ms Bresnan for her question. Last year we put $750,000 into Pilgrim House to provide extended and enhanced services, and I think they are not too far away from actually opening that facility. That will be able to provide laundry facilities and bathing and showering facilities. That is something that this government has invested in. I think that is a good outcome and, as I say, I do not think it is too far away and I will be sure to let you know when it is operating.

MS LE COUTEUR: A supplementary, Mr Speaker.

MR SPEAKER: Yes, Ms Le Couteur.

MS LE COUTEUR: Minister, is there currently an ACT government-funded program that actively goes out to find and talk to people who sleep rough?

MS BURCH: Yes, it is called street to home. We funded it in last year’s budget, and we increased its funding in this year’s budget, because they do such a magnificent job. In recognising the work they do and the success they have had, we have increased their funding.

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