$1billion to tackle NSW's housing and homelessness

THE state government will spend more than $1 billion this year in an effort to tackle housing affordability and homelessness problems in New South Wales, boosted by an extra $1.7 billion to tackle key causes of vagrancy.

Budget documents released on Tuesday show the state will spend just shy of $1 billion on social housing and homelessness, with $342 to build 1021 now social housing dwellings, 770 of which were expected to be completed in 2015-16.



Of the $1 billion, another $182 million will go to specialist homelessness services and $75 million to community housing subsidies, while indigenous-specific housing assistance will be bolstered with $167 million this year.

Social Housing Minister Brad Hazzard said the government was not prepared to let "failures of the past continue over coming generations".

The budget also details $1.7 billion to be spent on mental health, drug and alcohol services across the state, including another $35 million to implement the state's mental health reform plan and $10 million for the Mental Health Commissioner.

Almost $150 million will also help provide specialist domestic and family violence programs and services over the next four years, including four new "Safer Pathways" pilot program sites.

The program includes a new referral process for victims of domestic violence, to help share information and coordinate services, with Tweed Heads, Bankstown, Broken Hill and Parramatta joining Waverley and Orange as trial sites from July this year.

An extra 24 domestic violence specialist police officers will be added to the NSW Police Force's ranks in 2015-16 and $33 million over four years will support the Women's Domestic Violence Court Advocacy Program.

- APN Newsdesk


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