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More money needed for homelessness and mental health services: City Council


Adelaide City Council is calling on the State Government to provide funding in the upcoming Budget for more services to tackle mental health issues and homelessness.

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“There is a gap between homelessness and mental health services,” North Ward councillor Mary Couros told the council meeting on Tuesday evening.

“Additional responses and assistance is required by the government for people who fall in this gap… more funding is required to support people living on the streets.”

Couros said while organisations such as the Don Dunstan Foundation worked to reduce the number of homeless and rough sleepers throughout the state, additional support was needed.

The council voted to send a letter to Human Services Minister Michelle Lensink seeking increased funding for support services.

Couros said health care services had been “dismantled”, leaving a widening gap in assistance for people with mental health, drug and alcohol issues, but an increase in support services would help those who were placed in housing and left due to reasons including mental health, drug and alcohol addiction.

Couros said future services could allow mental health and homelessness organisations to work collaboratively in assisting people to stay in appropriate accommodation.

“I would always support more funding for social services,” added South Ward councillor Dr Helen Donovan.

“Just to note however… when we talk about any relationship between mental health and drug dependency issues, that there are many complex reasons why people experience housing instability and homelessness and they are structural, they are systemic, they are individual.

“So, certainly there is a niche where we can always be doing more and that requires more support services but, to put it in the bigger context, we are not only suggesting that people who are experiencing homelessness are only doing so because of mental health, but this is a subset within a subset.”

Area councillor Robert Simms said all levels of government needed to work together to offer support for vulnerable people in the community.

“We also need the Federal government to step up as well, in terms of building more homes to help deal with the issue of homelessness,” said Simms.

“The Federal government gifted $15 million to the [Adelaide] Crows. Imagine what they could do with this money to dealing with homelessness in the city of Adelaide. There are some big opportunities for all levels of government to show initiative.”

Area councillor Arman Abrahimzadeh said the State government was working on a housing and homeless strategy framework, expected to be launched by the end of this year.

In a statement, Minister for Human Services Michelle Lensink said the Liberal Government would consider all budget submissions as part of the budget process.

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