people in inner Sydney have expressed dismay and anger at the impending closure
of a key homeless support service.
month the Federal Government announced that it was withdrawing the funding for
the Haymarket Clinic in Darlinghurst, after more than 20 years.
The Haymarket Clinic was
established in 1974. It is a primary health care and welfare service for inner
city homeless people and its main objective is the provision of free medical
services to homeless and disadvantaged people.
In addition, the clinic provides
services such as a secondary needle and syringe program, showers, toilets, mail
collection, vitamins and referral to welfare and drug & alcohol services. The clinic sees up to 90 people
everyday, who come in for everything from flu vaccines to alcohol and drug
The withdrawal of Commonwealth
Government funding may mean that the clinic will have to close its doors in
According to founding member of
PIAC’s homeless consumer advisory committee, StreetCare, AJ, rough sleepers in
the inner city are upset about the decision.
People rely on this service. They
have built up a trust in this service. They don’t know where they’re going to
go for the sort of support Haymarket gives, if it closes down.
A regular consumer of Haymarket’s
services for over 10 years, AJ says that many homeless people have expressed
anger and dismay about the impending closure.
People feel that the government
doesn’t give a stuff about streeties. For all the talk about reforming homeless
services, this shows what they really think about us.
According to AJ, the Haymarket
Clinic also provides an important community environment for people who are
often isolated, lonely and marginalised from the rest of society.
You could go in there, the people
are friendly, talk to you, ask if you need help, give you a cup of tea. You
could go in for a wash, collect your mail, and catch up with other streeties in
a warm and friendly environment.
The Government doesn’t realise how important this service is for people
on the streets. Without it, I have no doubt many would have just fallen off the