Page 3367 - Week 09 - Tuesday, 21 August 2018

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The government also recognises the need for dedicated housing for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander members of our community. After close consultation with the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Elected Body, Mura Gunya, a complex of five two-bedroom units for older Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people, was opened in September 2016, with tenancies commencing in November 2016. The homes allow tenants to maintain connection to their family, community and culture. In the 2017-18 budget the government committed $250,000 to undertake planning and early design of further housing for older Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people. I am very pleased to say that a further $4.488 million over two years has been allocated in this year’s budget to deliver on this second dedicated, culturally appropriate housing for older Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people.

The government has committed to a range of funding packages to aid in providing early crisis intervention for key vulnerable groups, including women and children escaping domestic and family violence, older women and migrants with uncertain immigration status. This funding commitment will help enhance and tailor service delivery for these groups who are not yet in crisis but whose vulnerable situation puts them at significant risk of homelessness.

More than $1.8 million over four years will be allocated to establish the new service to support asylum seekers and other migrants with uncertain immigration status who are in need of housing assistance. This funding will provide medium-term accommodation and support to resolve immigration status, gain community connections, education and training and income.

Over $1.7 million over four years will go to establish support for older women who are either homeless or at risk of becoming homeless. The government will work with the community sector and service users over the coming months to design the new programs for asylum seekers and older women to ensure the funding will address key service gaps.

ABS census data released this year showed that the ACT was one of the few jurisdictions in Australia to successfully reduce homelessness. This is something to celebrate, but of course there is more work to be done. To provide further support for our front-line services the government in 2018-19 has allocated $6.524 million over four years.

I am pleased to advise the Assembly that OneLink will receive extra funding in 2018-19 to extend its operating hours and brokerage funds so that appropriate crisis support can be provided at the time that it is needed. In the ACT one out of every five people approaching homelessness services have identified that their mental health is a contributing factor to their tenuous housing situation.

The ACT specialist homelessness sector has identified that people with enduring mental illness require long-term and often permanent support to stay housed. At the moment many of these people are supported in crisis accommodation. This reduces the capacity of our homelessness services to provide services to people who are in housing crisis.

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