Homeless call for Housing NSW overhaul

A homelessness charter should inform the way
homelessness services operate in NSW, the Homeless Persons’ Legal Service
(HPLS) has recommended.

In a submission to the NSW Department of
Family and Community Services, HPLS has called for a homelessness charter as
one of several recommendations to improve services for homeless people.

HPLS has also called for better complaint
handling, more meaningful engagement between Housing NSW and homeless people, and
an overhaul of Housing NSW processes.

The HPLS recommendations are in response to
a call from the Minister for Community Services, Pru Goward, for input into a
government program intended to reform the provision of services to homeless

HPLS Acting Senior Policy Officer, Lou
Schetzer, said reforms proposed by the NSW Government should address specific
concerns raised by homeless people.

‘Homeless people have been saying for years
that there is a major problem with the way Housing NSW deals with applications
for transfers.

‘Homeless people are saying there also major
problems with the way Housing NSW manages complaints about poor conditions and
disrepair, and the way it terminates a resident’s lease if they fall behind in
their rent.

‘It is absolutely essential that Housing NSW
find ways to prevent people from becoming homeless.

‘Ultimately, as the largest social housing
provider in NSW, responsibility for preventing homelessness rests with Housing
NSW,’ Mr Schetzer said.

The HPLS submission calls for the NSW
Government to enact a charter of rights for homeless people as the basis for
reform of homelessness services.

‘Basic rights such as the right to be safe
and free from abuse, the right to privacy, the right to adequate food, and the
right not be discriminated against should be the core components of any system to
deliver better services to homeless people.

‘A charter of rights articulates the standards
required of specialist homelessness services and it
provides clear framework against which service delivery can be evaluated,’ Mr
Schetzer said.

Read the
HPLS submission Listening to homeless people – they’ve been saying it for a while.

Photo: StreetCare member Dave talks to the NSW Minister for Community Services, Pru Goward.

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