News State NSW News Refuges, crisis housing set to close

Refuges, crisis housing set to close

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There are fears the New South Wales Government’s changes to funding for homelessness services and crisis accommodation represents a one million dollar cut in the Illawarra-South Coast region, unless a pot of federal funding comes through.

Under the changes, a number of long-standing youth, women’s and family service providers will have to fold.

It is believed those services will continue to be delivered through other existing providers in the region.

Southern Youth and Family Services CEO Narelle Clay says service providers that have not been allocated State Government funding may get money under a yet-to-be announced commonwealth-state partnership agreement.

Ms Clay says funding for youth services in Nowra and Wollongong will be hit hardest.

‘If the money from the national partnership agreement does not come through, the biggest casualty is young people and the biggest casualty is the youth foyer which houses young people and assists them in education training and employment,’ Ms Clay said.

‘The other loss is youth beds and youth services in the Shoalhaven area.’

Wollongong Emergency Family Housing and Wollongong Women’s Housing were also left-off yesterday’s State Government funding list and may also fold unless the federal-state money comes through.

Ms Clay says existing providers in the region will take on the job of the homelessness and crisis accommodation services of the providers facing closure.

‘It still is an existing provider in the area with experience and competence, there is no concern about whether those services can deliver,’ she said.

‘There is a sadness and a disappointment for those that have been committed and delivering services for many years who have received notice that they have to wind down.’

The Community Services Minister Gabriel Upton made the funding announcement on Friday.

Sixty existing service providers failed to win contracts.

Ms Upton says services who missed out in the recent tender round will now be able to apply for 18 months additional funding to ensure their clients do not slip through the cracks.

But the State Opposition says it is too little, too late for many of them.

Opposition Community Services spokeswoman Linda Burney says those services have already lost their buildings, computers and infrastructure and cannot go through the tender service to prove they are worthwhile.