Progress has been made as a result of today’s emergency housing meeting instigated and organised by the City of Hobart.
Government cooperation & coordination
In an historical first, a working alliance including all three tiers of government has been formed to tackle homelessness and social housing. The alliance includes six local councils (Hobart, Glenorchy, Huon Valley, Clarence, Brighton and Kingborough), the State Government (through the Secretary of Communities Tasmania, Ginna Webster), Federal Government and the Property Council.
The three tiers of government will work together to find short, medium and long-term strategies to address homelessness.
The alliance has agreed to:
- set goals to enable accountability
- participate in preparation of a demand analysis so its activity and strategies are based on evidence of need and we know the issues we are trying to solve, and
- take action to alleviate the homelessness crisis in the south of the State while also developing medium and long-term strategies to ensure we do not end up in the same situation in coming years.
The alliance will meet formally as soon as possible to prioritise the ideas and concerns shared by the more than 60 stakeholders present at today’s meeting.
New targeted funding
Importantly, $5 million in new funds announced by the State Government yesterday is available for immediate response. This money is specifically for an emergency response to the current situation and will be used to ensure those sleeping rough are able to be housed safely and adequately.
What our industry brought to the table
Federal Housing Minister Michael Sukkar and State Housing Minister Roger Jaensch both attended today’s meeting at which Shelter Tasmania and TasCOSS represented the community services industry with a united front. Together we requested the following measures be enacted:
- That our State and Federal Governments negotiate removal of Tasmania’s historic public housing debt
- That the greater Hobart councils combine to enable demand analysis that will provide clear evidence and data to measure need and progress, and which includes those experiencing housing stress or unstable housing as well as rough sleepers
- That the State planning system is modified to enable:
- fast-tracking of targeted affordable housing zoning for the not-for-profit housing sector, and
- inclusionary zoning to ensure councils have incentives to include affordable and disability housing in all local government areas.
- That funding and planning is provided for additional specialist support for vulnerable people, and
- That guidelines and safeguards are developed within an appropriate framework when short, medium and long-term homelessness strategies are considered and assessed. This will help to ensure vulnerable Tasmanians experiencing homelessness are kept safe, and community members offering support are protected
The wins of the past fortnight and today are a result of much hard work.
The new money ($5 million) announced by the State Government will allow some immediate relief to those without a place to call home. And it is a major achievement to gain agreement from decision-makers across the three tiers of government to work together strategically and with decision-makers sitting at the table.
Thank you to those of you who are working daily to meet the huge demand for assistance and support from our fellow Tasmanians during this crisis.
Be assured that we appreciate your efforts and will continue to consult with you as the situation progresses. Please take a moment to acknowledge that progress has been made today and will continue to be made with and because of you.
TasCOSS and Shelter Tas will continue to ensure your voices are at the table with all decision-makers and report back to you regularly and as goals are achieved.