Kevin Simpson and Veronica Penna, two members of the homeless advisory group, Street Care, have been appointed to the NSW Premier’s Advisory Council on Homelessness.
Announced yesterday, the 10-member Premier’s Advisory Council will provide expert advice on reducing homelessness in NSW.
Kevin has lived on the streets over a 20-year period and Veronica has been homeless for the past three years. Kevin and Veronica’s appointment to the council is the first time people who have a lived experience of homelessness have been included in high-level government decision-making.
‘Homeless people have never had a say in the way services are provided for them. We are experts in homelessness and feel that our input will help stop people from falling through the gaps,’ said Kevin.
As members of Street Care, Kevin and Veronica currently provide advice on homelessness through Street Care’s affiliation with the Public Interest Advocacy Centre (PIAC).
Street Care is the first advisory group in New South Wales that is made up entirely of people who have experienced homelessness. The group was established by and receives on-going support from the Homeless Persons’ Legal Service (HPLS)*.
More than 27,000 people are homeless or sleep rough in NSW and more than a third of these people are under the age of 25.
‘We have long been an advocate of the need for governments to involve those that have experienced homelessness in the decision-making process. The Government’s appointment of two people who have experienced homelessness is a very exciting prospect for the development of homelessness policy in NSW,’ said HPLS Policy Officer Chris Hartley.
Kevin Simpson and Chris Hartley are available for further comment.
* The Homeless Persons’ Legal Services (HPLS) is a joint initiative of the Public Interest Advocacy Centre and the Public Interest Law Clearing House. PIAC receives core funding for HPLS from the NSW Attorney General, the Hon John Hatzistergos, through the NSW Public Purpose Fund and project support for a homeless consumer advocacy group, StreetCare, from the City of Sydney.
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