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Australian Homelessness Conference

Downtown Community Ministry

Bulletin

28 May 2008

Australian Homelessness Conference

Last week’s Australian Conference on Homelessness, attended by Downtown Community Ministry staff Kate Bell and Alan Norman, showed the range of ideas being used to address homelessness in Australia.

Community Support worker Kate Bell says, “There is lots of good work being done in Australia to seriously address this issue.”

She says the initiative of the Australian Government to produce a Green Paper is a great example of the responsibility and leadership Australians are taking on homelessness.

“Other areas of note were examples of innovative housing models and ways to increase the rights of the homeless population by, for example, facilitating easier access to legal services.”

However, Alan says, NZ and Australia share common frustrations.

“Australia also has a lack of affordable housing specifically for people experiencing homelessness and we found that many in the social sector complained of the many layers of bureaucracy they faced when dealing with authorities”, he says.

“Having effective strategies that respond to people at risk of homelessness is very important,” says Kate.

“A frustrating part of the job is seeing communication between agencies fail at crucial times. Sometimes a client is diagnosed by one agency and therefore identified to be the responsibility of another agency, but the connection isn’t made. Sadly, it’s then that they fall out of sight and are picked up again at a later stage and often worse condition.”

ENDS

www.dcm.org.nz

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