$14m to help the homeless

ACTION is being taken to bring the homeless out of the cold.

Those living rough on the Mid North Coast will be assisted by a $14 million regional approach by the state and federal governments to provide accommodation, support and counselling.

Acting on a Housing NSW plan to tackle homelessness, not-for-profit organisation New Horizons has won the government contract servicing the Mid North Coast.

Under the partnership, it will deliver the North Coast Accommodation Plan (NCAP), an initiative to be rolled out through its Coffs Harbour, Kempsey and Taree offices.

The accommodation project aims to support people who are homeless or at risk of homelessness to find appropriate, affordable and sustainable housing.

It will focus on individuals, families, women escaping domestic violence and young people exiting correctional institutes, helping them to access and maintain private rental accommodation.

New Horizons CEO Judi Higgin said she was pleased her organisation had been entrusted to deliver such an important community project.

“Homelessness is a social issue that impacts the whole community,” Ms Higgin said.

“Having a roof over our heads is one of life’s basic, fundamental necessities.

“That’s why it’s so important for government and communities to work together, not only to support people to find safe, secure and sustainable accommodation, but also to address the issues that lead to homelessness.”

The accommodation plan will provide case management support including referrals to financial counselling and budgeting, counselling, life skills programs, tenancy training, advocacy, negotiation and referral to specialist support groups and services such as domestic violence and mental health support services.

It is one of 10 regional plans across NSW and was created in response to the findings of a regional homelessness committee set up by Housing NSW.

That committee was tasked with identifying the best and most effective ways of reducing and preventing homelessness in local communities.

“NCAP will help to transform the approach to homelessness from one of crisis response to one of active prevention and targeted, collaborative support,” Ms Higgin said.

This holistic approach – assisting people who are already homeless, have previously been homeless or are at risk of becoming homeless – will help people find homes, break the cycle and prevent homelessness before it occurs.

In addition to NCAP, the regional plan will also provide more than $1.5 million for young people exiting Juvenile Justice and $2.1 million for young people leaving care support services.

Across NSW, New Horizons provides more than one million hours of care to more than 3000 people.

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