Housing NSW joins homelessness working group

Hard work by homeless people and their
advocates has helped convince the NSW Premier to support a project that puts
Housing NSW representatives in direct contact with homelessness people.

The Premier’s Council has established a Consumers’ Forum Homelessness
Working Group as a way to ensure Housing NSW representatives hear first-hand
from homeless people.

Representatives from Housing NSW are part of the working group, as are
members of the Consumer Advisory Council, a group of 11 consumer representatives who
are homeless or formerly homeless.

The working group met for the first time
late last year.

‘The inclusion of Consumer Advisory Council
members in the homelessness working group addresses a concern often expressed
by homeless people who have participated in government consultations,’ said the
Coordinator of the Homeless Persons’ Legal Service (HPLS), Julie Hourigan-Ruse (pictured).

‘Homeless people who participated in the NSW
Consumers’ Forums on Homelessness in 2010 are concerned that information flows
one-way and that no positive change from Government ever eventuates from the

‘HPLS sees the establishment of the homelessness
working group as a positive step towards addressing those concerns.

‘The working group will identify and implement key
recommendations from the Consumers’ Forums on Homelessness, particularly in
relation to Housing NSW policies and procedures,’ Ms Hourigan-Ruse said.

HPLS, together with the Public Interest
Advocacy Centre, Street Care Sydney and Street Care Hunter, established the
Consumer Advisory Council as a way to connect homeless people with government
policy makers.

Consumer Advisory Council members represent
the diversity of people who experience homelessness: men and women, people who
are transgender, young people, Aboriginal people and Torres Strait Islanders,
women who have experienced domestic violence,  people who have been released from prison, people with
mental illness and people with addictions.

HPLS, the Newcastle and Hunter Homelessness
Interagency Network and Parramatta City Council support members of the Council.

At the November 2010 Premier’s Council meeting, the
NSW Premier announced that PIAC would receive $30,000 to undertake this work
with HPLS in 2011.

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