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$1.3m needed to help end homelessness in city: councillor

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South ward councillor Alexander Hyde is calling for just under $1.3 million in Adelaide City Council and State Government funding to prevent “mission fatigue” in the quest to achieve “functional zero homelessness” in the city by next year.

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Hyde told InDaily this morning he is keen for the city council to take heed of a report handed down by Institute of Global Homelessness chair Dame Louise Casey, who visited Adelaide earlier this year to help implement the Adelaide Zero homelessness project.

The project was launched by Adelaide think-tank the Don Dunstan Foundation in 2017 and aims ensure the number of people sleeping rough in the inner city is no greater than the housing available that month.

In her report handed down last month, Casey said she had observed “very impressive” individual agency responses to addressing homelessness in Adelaide, but there was still a long way to go to meet the needs of the city’s rough sleepers.

“There is a need to urgently reduce the number of people sleeping on the streets in order to prevent mission fatigue and the loss of momentum that will inevitable follow,” Casey wrote in her report.

“It is time to turn strategies and efforts into real outcomes on the streets.”

Casey said there was an “obvious and urgent” need for increased shelter and permanent housing in the city.

She said it was essential government bodies pledge more funding for a “rough sleeper coordinator” within the SA Housing Authority, short-term financial grants for private rental leases and the creation of a centralised service hub staffed by health and social support workers.

The report also recommends a new shelter be established offering temporary accommodation for rough sleepers, including those “who are couples, intoxicated and have pets”.

“If people are asked to comply with strict conditions regarding sobriety or separating from loved ones, including pets, in order to enter (the shelter), many will choose to remain on the streets,” the report says.

In January last year the city council agreed to partner with the Don Dunstan Foundation to deliver the Adelaide Zero Project – pledging an initial $150,000 towards its implementation.

In September, the council agreed to extend that partnership, committing an extra $35,000 in the 2018-19 budget, with a further $132,980 pledged in 2019-20 and $105,150 in 2020-21.

In a letter penned to Human Services Minister Michelle Lensink – seen by InDaily – the Don Dunstan Foundation estimates the total cost of implementing Casey’s recommendations to be $1,292,000.

Hyde said he would move a motion at Tuesday night’s council meeting calling on the council to contribute a further $200,000 in its 2019-20 budget towards the Adelaide Zero Project, with that funding contingent on the State Government agreeing to provide the remaining funding.

“Many of my residents and businesses in the city’s south are telling me that problems are getting worse, and they’re dealing with the fallout of ineffective services,” Hyde said.

“This funding is critical to progressing the Adelaide Zero Project’s work and keep us on track to end on-street homelessness by 2020.”

A spokesperson from the SA Housing Authority said in a statement the authority had contributed “substantial resources” to the project – including staff – and was a partner to the Adelaide Zero Project.

“The authority’s Integrated Homelessness Program, which supports people sleeping rough in the inner city into housing, now dedicates significant staff time and resources to housing clients from the Adelaide Zero Project’s by-name list,” the spokesperson said.

“The authority also supported Dame Louise Casey’s visit to Adelaide through a $10,000 grant.

Her recommendations will be considered in the development of the state’s new Housing and Homelessness Strategy, which is currently being developed in collaboration between the Authority and the housing and homelessness sector.”

Latest figures from the Don Dunstan Foundation estimate 130 or more people sleeping rough around Adelaide’s CBD and park lands.

Since launching its by-name list of every person sleeping rough in the city in August, an average of 14 people have found housing each month.

The number of people who are known to be sleeping rough in the inner city each month, determined by the Adelaide Zero Project’s by-name list.

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