Taking action on homelessness: Response to the NSW Homelessness Action Plan Alternative formats available on request to PIAC - Contact PIAC
The Homeless Persons’ Legal Service (HPLS), a joint initiative of the Public Interest Advocacy Centre (PIAC) and the Public Interest Law Clearing House (PILCH), in this submission welcomes the opportunity to have input to the development by the NSW Government of the ‘NSW Homelessness Action Plan’. This Action Plan is designed to ensure effective implementation of the national commitment to addressing homelessness. In its submission, HPLS provides comment on a number of the proposed actions, particularly those affecting legal and related rights. It notes the need to address particular groups currently outside the protection of tenancy law, such as boarders and lodgers, as this increases the risk of homelessness due to evictions without cause. HPLS also urges the NSW Government to go beyond its proposed actions in relation to Centrelink to work closely with the Federal Government to improve the availability and level of the Centrelink Crisis Payment. Another area for urgent reform identified by HPLS is the NSW Department of Housing, Priority Housing Criteria, under which homeless people with mental illnesses are currently being excluded on the basis that they could access and could afford to rent on the private rental market. This particular concern also links with the problem of discrimination against homeless people in the private rental market. Other concerns identified are the potential impact of proposed privatisation of more prisons in NSW on the implementation of improved discharge planning and the need to ensure that the proposal to better engage with consumers in the development of policies and programs is reflected in sufficient time, resourcing and support for consumer engagement.