12 Oct 2016
People sleeping rough around Sydney Town Hall have been given permanent accommodation with an added surprise after visiting the Department of Family and Community Services (FACS) pop-up housing office.
Deputy Secretary of FACS Housing Paul Vevers said ten homeless people were given keys to their own unit after attending the recent CBD pop-up and were overwhelmed to find it had been fully furnished by volunteers.
“FACS partnered with volunteers from Habitat for Humanity Australia and the City of Sydney to fit out several social housing units in Redfern, Waterloo, South Coogee, Arncliffe and Sutherland,” said Mr Vevers.
“The group assembled and installed furniture in the units over a fortnight so we could surprise new tenants, not only with a permanent home but one freshly fitted out with everything they could possibly need.”
The pop-up housing office at Town Hall is one of 25 which have been organised by FACS over the past year in an effort to take services to vulnerable people rather than expect often fragile individuals to seek out help.
Mr Vevers said the initiative has proved hugely successful to date, helping more than 300 people into temporary, permanent and crisis housing since it launched last year.
“We have had housing pop-ups in locations including Woolloomooloo, Parramatta, Belmore Park, Wentworth Park, Sutherland, Central Station, Nowra and now Town Hall,” Mr Vevers said.
“Homeless people who come into the pop-ups are afforded priority on the housing waiting list, along with other vulnerable groups like families escaping domestic violence but it is wonderful we could offer them something extra.”
Overall, the pop up housing office at Town Hall saw 26 people who were helped into temporary, permanent and crisis accommodation. Currently there are more than 60,000 vulnerable people on the waiting list for social housing in NSW.
The NSW Government has committed to spending a total of $188.4 million on homelessness services in the 16/17 Budget.
This is in addition to 23,000 new and replacement social housing dwellings which will be built over the next 10 years across NSW as part of the Future Directions programme.
The NSW Government is urging anyone with an interest in preventing homelessness to have their say in a new discussion paper called Foundations for Change: Homelessness in NSW. Consultations will take place across NSW throughout October.
People experiencing homelessness or at risk of homelessness can call Link2home – 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, every day of the year on 1800 152 152.
Volunteers Angelica Madani and Henry Ye assembling Ikea furniture for an apartment to be provided to homeless person. Photo: Habitat for Humanity (NSW) Ltd.