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Mental health service to close after homeless funding cut

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Mental health service Neami National says it will be forced to close its Adelaide service with the loss of 36 jobs following a funding cut under the state government’s homelessness reforms.

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Neami National says funding has been cut to its specialised service that has built relationships with thousands of rough sleepers, many with complex mental health issues.

“Neami National’s Street to Home service will close permanently while consortium partners Hutt Street Centre, St Vincent’s Men’s Shelter and Catherine House will lose significant funding for essential services,” Neami National State Manager, Kim Holmes said.

“Our key concern is for the thousands of rough sleepers, many with complex mental health issues, that are at risk with the abrupt end to this specialised service.

“In Adelaide, we are currently seeing approximately 50 new rough sleepers every month and Street to Home have 100 people currently transitioning to or settling into their homes.”

Holmes said the cuts would lead to the loss of 36 jobs when the service closed after four years of operation.

“Transitioning to a new provider is incredibly difficult for vulnerable people and the government and new service providers will have to do all they can to support them through this process. We will of course work our hardest to support them too.

Details of the state government’s homelessness reform were announced on Friday, with Human Services Minister Michelle Lensink revealing the state’s homelessness services will soon be run by five “alliances” of organisations awarded government contracts through a competitive tender process.

Among the groups to miss out under the new alliance system are the Hutt Street Centre, Catherine House, and the St Vincent de Paul Society – all of which will lose $1.2 million in funding under the reforms.

Other groups to miss out on funding under the new arrangement include Uniting Communities and the Aboriginal Family Support Services.

The five new homelessness alliances cover the Adelaide South, Adelaide North, Country South and Country North areas, with a separate alliance dedicated to domestic and family violence.

Lensink, who emphasised that the overall pool of State Government funding for homeless services has increased from $67.9 million to $71.5 million in the last year, said the organisations that missed out on funding should discuss what services they can continue to provide with the new alliances.

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