City News

Opening doors for the homeless

COS homeless information centre

The City of Sydney will continue funding its successful Way2Home project until July.

Established in 2010, Way2Home assists people experiencing homelessness to move into long-term housing and re-establish ties with the community.

Its “housing first” approach is based on the philosophy that people should be able to enter long-term housing contracts without first having to meet prerequisites such as sobriety or treatment compliance.

“Housing is provided first and then support services required to help a person recover and thrive are negotiated with the client and provided to them in their housing,” a council report noted.

The project will be extended by three months and council will provide an additional payment of $150,000 for the extended service period.

“This project has seen positive change in the lives of all clients,” Greens councillor Irene Doutney said.

“In some cases we have seen an end to homelessness.”

Co-funded by the City, the program has supported 189 people who were previously chronically homeless in the inner city to move into permanent housing.

The outreach program and the volunteers from Neami National helps the homeless fill out the forms required to apply for long term housing.

“The number of people sleeping rough in Sydney has declined since the inception of Way2Home and we want to see council continue to support and fund programs such as this,” Ms Doutney said.

City of Sydney CEO Monica Barone told council the state government would offer a round table workshop reviewing all homelessness services.

“I would like to see council table this motion until after the meeting in early 2014 when we can evaluate our homeless services as a whole,” Ms Barone said.

“The Way2Home program is just one aspect of the homeless services that we provide and I think a decision should be made only after considering what the state government has to say.”

Ms Doutney has told council she is happy to table the discussion of an extension to the Way2Home program until the round table workshop but encourages the CEO to be mindful that the “inner city homeless situation is vastly different to the rest of NSW”.

“With this difference in mind we have to make decisions based on what works for our local government area and not the state of NSW as a whole,” Ms Doutney said.

The Way2Home initiative will now expire on June 30, 2014.

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