14 September 2023
NSW homelessness and community housing peak bodies warn hundreds of rough sleepers risk being left without support unless the government commits $50 million to extend the state’s Together Home program.
Homelessness NSW and the Community Housing Industry Association NSW are urging the government to use this month’s budget to secure the future of the program that helps people who are street-sleeping to access long-term housing.
An extra $50 million over two years would give about 320 of the most vulnerable people access to a stable and secure home. Together Home has helped house more than 1000 people since it began in 2020.
“Together Home is an evidence-based program delivering amazing results for some of the most vulnerable people in our community. Cutting funding to this program during the worst housing crisis in a generation will only make the homelessness crisis worse,” HNSW Acting CEO Amy Hains said.
“Two years of additional funding will also pay dividends over the long term by alleviating pressure on health, justice and welfare budgets due to the benefits provided by a stable home.”
Under existing funding agreements, CHIA NSW estimates the program will have ended for more than 850 people at the end of 2023.
“Together Home is vital to improving the lives of, and offering hope, to some of NSW’s most vulnerable people,” CHIA NSW CEO Mark Degotardi said.
“It would be a serious mistake for the NSW government not to secure the future of Together Home in this month’s budget. We are experiencing a housing and homelessness crisis, and the failure to provide adequate funding means hundreds of people sleeping rough will miss out on the chance to access a safe and stable home.”
CHIA NSW and HNSW are also urging the government to commit to building an extra 400 social housing properties over two years for people exiting the Together Home program, but who need longer-term housing and support services.
The plea from the NSW peak bodies follows a 10 per cent rise in demand for frontline homelessness services in the first three months of 2023.
“Government funding for homelessness services has not kept up with the cost of providing help. In real terms, homelessness services have actually lost funding over time,” Ms Hains said.
Background about Together Home:
• Under Together Home, the government leases private rentals that are sub-leased to community housing providers.
• These properties are then rented to vulnerable people, predominantly rough sleepers, at below market rates. Participants are also provided with wraparound services.
• About 90% of Together Home participants have maintained their tenancies since the start of the program with help from their community housing provider and support services.
Georgie Moore (Homelessness NSW) – 0477 779 928
Charlie Moore (Homelessness NSW) – 0452 606 171
Tanya Evans (CHIA NSW) – 0424156146