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Govt won't rule out privatising Adelaide's city homeless service

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The State Government is yet to decide whether its frontline city homelessness service will remain in public hands, InDaily can reveal.

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Yesterday, InDaily reported that the Government was planning to overhaul its outreach service for people experiencing homelessness in Adelaide’s CBD, Street to Home, and would not rule out cutting jobs.

The Government now says it will not reduce “funding for jobs” within the service.

But asked this morning whether Street to Home would stay in public hands – and whether current staff would retain their positions – a Government spokesperson said: “That is all yet to be worked out.”

The executive director of Housing SA, Phil Fagan-Schmidt, told InDaily in a statement today that a “new service model” was being developed for Street to Home but there would be “no reduction in funding for jobs”.

“Discussions on the new way to deliver services have only just started between Housing SA and SA Health,” he said.

“The views and experiences of Street to Home staff, as well as other city homelessness providers, will be considered in developing a new service model.

There will be no reduction in funding for jobs.”

According to Fagan-Schmidt, the new model to be implemented at Street to Home “will have a greater emphasis on street work, including an ability to respond 24/7 to ensure we work with rough sleepers more assertively”.

We are also looking at using technology to improve the coordination of case management,” he said.

“This will also support the State Government’s new Code Blue/Code Red Emergency Response during extreme weather events to assist people sleeping rough.”

A Government spokesperson told InDaily yesterday that Street to Home had “departed from its original structure and therefore needs to be realigned to its original intended core functions” – and that an “improved service model” was expected to be implemented beginning later this year.

Street To Home is based on an outreach model developed in New York City and brought to South Australia by then-Thinker In Residence Rosanne Haggerty.

Street to Home actively seeks out rough sleepers to provide housing and healthcare assistance – whereas other Adelaide services require homeless people to know about available services and self-present.

Several of South Australia’s homelessness services are run by not-for-profit non-government organisations.

A 2013 evaluation of the Street To Home service by Flinders University researchers found it was effective in quickly helping rough sleepers to find temporary accommodation.

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