The NSW Government has reached another milestone in its historic reforms to the specialist homelessness sector with the announcement of preferred providers for the second round of tenders under the Going Home Staying Home reforms.
Minister for Family and Community Services Gabrielle Upton announced the new providers that had been selected through secondary procurement while visiting the Muslim Women’s Association. Ms Upton said the additional four providers would join 143 specialist homelessness service providers which were announced in June, all of which are now operational.
“The Muslim Women’s Association (MWA) has a long history of delivering essential services to vulnerable women and children in their local community,” Ms Upton said. Along with its partner agencies, the MWA is exceptionally well-placed to deliver the new Canterbury Bankstown Multicultural Family Support Service.
“As well as the MWA, Wandiyali ATSI, Warlga Ngurra Women and Children’s Refuge, and Ungooroo Aboriginal Corporation were each chosen to deliver homelessness services for Aboriginal people, particularly young people, women, and families. These services and partner agencies will operate across the Hunter, Lake Macquarie and Port Stephens areas from early in 2015”.
Minister for Citizenship and Communities and Minister for Aboriginal Affairs Victor Dominello said the new services would provide culturally-appropriate support to families who are at risk of homelessness.
“We’re one of the most culturally diverse societies in the world, so it’s important that we have specialist migrant homelessness services – where staff know the culture, speak the language and have strong links to the community.
In particular, he paid tribute to the work of MWA Executive Officer Maha Abdo OAM, the NSW Human Rights Ambassador, for her ongoing dedication to supporting migrant women in Sydney who are at risk of homelessness or domestic violence.
“This is yet another example of the NSW Government’s commitment to reducing homelessness by delivering record levels of funding and by partnering with organisations with the capacity to improve the lives of those who need our help.”
Member for East Hills Glenn Brookes said, “The Muslim Women’s Association does great work and is an outstanding contributor to the local area.
“This new service will provide culturally-appropriate services to families who are at risk of homelessness and support them to remain safely in their existing housing or help to settle them in safe and stable housing.”
MWA Executive Officer Maha Abdo says, “The Muslim Women Association along with our local partners welcome the new challenges ahead as we continue to serve our local community with its diversity. We are humbly proud that the NSW Government has recognised our specialist expertise in DV & homelessness, in the Canterbury Bankstown Area.”
Ms Upton said the four new services announced are part of secondary procurement that was undertaken where no preferred provider was initially recommended. “All four of the services announced today focus on providing the best possible outcomes for specific cultural groups.
“Under Going Home Staying Home, there are services that bring tailored solutions to the challenges faced by people from culturally and linguistically diverse backgrounds, Aboriginal people, the LGBTIQ community and – most critically, given the increased risk of homelessness associated with domestic violence – women and their children.”
Family and Community Services will work with service providers over the next three months to ensure a smooth transition for clients to new services. To support transition, existing eligible providers will continue to be funded until 31 January 2015 through the Service Support Fund.
Over the next three years the NSW Government will invest over $500 million in new homelessness services, including a record investment of $148 million in 2014-15 which is a 9.6 per cent increase in funding from last year.