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Current location: Home > Questions > Woolloomooloo Homelessness

Woolloomooloo Homelessness

Question without Notice

Wednesday, 13 May 2009

Minister for Housing David Borger: I thank the member for Sydney for her genuine commitment to disadvantaged people in Woolloomooloo. I can advise the member that we are working to resolve many of the homelessness issues in Woolloomooloo. I remind the House that the homelessness intervention project was established late last year, at the Premier's request, to respond to the urgent needs of rough sleepers in the inner city through the homelessness intervention team, and of homeless young people in the Nepean area through the Nepean youth homelessness project. That project is a cross-agency initiative led by Housing NSW, and includes the Department of Premier and Cabinet, NSW Health, the Department of Community Services, the City of Sydney, Homelessness New South Wales and the Youth Accommodation Association.

In the next 2˝ years we will be building approximately 9,000 new units of social housing in New South Wales, and we expect that a large percentage of those new housing units will be used to house homeless people across the State. If there are ways of improving our opportunities and our ability to get people on the register and into housing, I will work with the member for Sydney to do that. We have spoken recently about visiting Woolloomooloo. I am happy to see firsthand some of the issues and challenges in Woolloomooloo. I will work with the member on this issue, and the Government will consider her suggestion today about a way to improve the situation.

I might add that in the inner city we are considering a proposal to establish a Common Ground project. Common Ground Sydney has been proposing that the Government get involved with it. This impressive scheme hardwires support services into the building of a very high density model based on something that has worked very successfully in New York. We are interested in working with Common Ground. The first event I attended—as did the Premier—was the Common Ground launch in Sydney last year. We are absolutely committed to working with Common Ground Sydney. We are looking at a number of sites in the inner city and, if we are successful, they will provide the opportunity for people who are very disadvantaged and sleeping rough to get the services they need, with support services linked in. The Government will consider the proposal of the member for Sydney.

Clover Moore: My question is directed to the Minister for Housing. Given that the February homelessness street count identified that one-fifth of rough sleepers in the city are living on the streets and parks of Woolloomooloo, and that 80 people are now sleeping rough, will the Minister set up a homelessness one-stop outreach with government, health and welfare agencies and the city to process applications quickly and fast-track accommodation to address this urgent situation and its serious impacts on the Woolloomooloo community?

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