Yvette claims progress on homelessness

YVETTE Berry says reforms to Canberra’s homelessness services have seen an increase in prevention programs along with better results in employment and education, according to an independent evaluation.

“From 2009-2014, the ACT Government worked with Canberra’s homelessness sector to implement major reforms that resulted from changes to Commonwealth funding,” Yvette said.

The review found that:

  • services had increased programs to prevent homelessness
  • services were operating with enhanced integration
  • people were getting better results in areas like employment and education
  • and the centralised intake service was helping prioritise support to those in most need.

In addition:

  • the number of individuals and families accessing specialist homelessness services is estimated to have increased by 65% from 2,233 in 2008-09 to 3,685 in 2013-14
  • although the number of young people aged 15 – 24 years accessing services increased slightly over the period, they now represent only 31% of those assisted, while the proportion of those aged 45 and over increased from 11% to 17%
  • increasingly, people using specialist homelessness services are likely to have more complex needs
  • in 2013-14, 34% of people requiring employment assistance as part of their specialist homelessness support were employed after leaving the service system, compared with 22% in 2009 and 19% nationally
  • the proportion of young people aged 15 to 24 in education after leaving the service system increased from 17% in 2008-09 to 31% in 2013-14.

“The evaluation gives us a better understanding of the pressures on the specialist homelessness service system, what is working well and where we will need to focus more effort or try new approaches as we move forward,” said Yvette.

“Our aim is to provide anyone in need of homeless support with the help they need, when they need it, and for the right amount of time. It is a big challenge but we will continue to work with service providers to achieve it.”

A copy of the evaluation report is available at communityservices.act.gov.au from Monday 3 August.

Pictured: A homeless person sleeping in Civic at lunchtime today.

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