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New homeless hub considered for CBD

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A one-stop housing and medical centre for people sleeping rough in the CBD is being considered as part of a $400,000 State Government and Adelaide City Council funding pledge.

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Human Services Minister Michelle Lensink’s office confirmed to InDaily this morning that the Government would provide an additional $237,000 – on top of $200,000 in Adelaide City Council funding – to the Adelaide Zero Project.

The project, which has already received previous funding and staffing support from the State Government and city council, is an initiative of the Don Dunstan Foundation and aims to end street homelessness in the inner-city.

The State Government will spend $45,000 from its allocation on developing a business case for an “inner- city services hub”, which would provide housing and medical services for people sleeping rough.

A report published in February by the Don Dunstan Foundation stated a hub would ideally house the Central Adelaide Local Health Network’s hospital avoidance team and Drug and Alcohol Services SA, as well as other “essential frontline services”.

Lensink’s office said the Government would hire an external consultant to develop the business case on behalf of the Adelaide Zero Project.

The Government is yet to set a timeframe outlining when it will complete the business case and progress with the potential build.

It is also unclear if the Government will consult the public or sector groups about the development, with Lensink’s office stating those considerations were yet to be determined by the Adelaide Zero Project and a Government steering group.

An additional $118,000 in State Government funding will be spent on employing SA Housing Authority staff to work with the Don Dunstan Foundation to run the Adelaide Zero Project, $12,000 will be spent on running a homelessness conference, and $62,285 will be spent on upgrading a boarding house on Waymouth Street.

The Adelaide City Council is unsure how its $200,000 contribution will be used, with community and culture associate director Amy Pokoney telling InDaily in a statement that the council was still “working through the details of our future funding allocations”.

Don Dunstan Foundation executive director Ritchie Hollands said the funding pledge from the city council and State Government would help the Adelaide Zero Project implement recommendations made in its February report.

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

The letter asked Lensink to set aside $92,000 for the development of the inner-city services hub business case, as well as $160,000 for a temporary shelter for chronic rough sleepers.

The State Government and Adelaide City Council combined funding allocation falls short of this ask.

Lensink, who earlier this year described the state’s housing system as “broken”, said in a statement the Government was working on its 10-year Housing and Homelessness Strategy, which is due to be released by the end of the year.

“Increasing access to appropriate housing and reducing homelessness through preventing people from falling through the cracks is a key focus of the Liberal Government and its partners,” she said.

“We have been actively engaging on this new strategy with all stakeholders, including the non-government sector, the development sector and the community, because housing provision is part of a state-wide system and is broader than any one agency, provider or industry.”

Lord Mayor Sandy Verschoor was unavailable for comment.

Latest homelessness data released by the Adelaide Zero Project earlier this month shows the number of rough sleepers in the city has dropped by just under 30 per cent in the past five months.

In September, 163 people were identified as sleeping rough, down from a record-high 227 people in May.

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