National Strategy on Homelessness Looks for Innovation
Saturday, 23rd February 2008 at 12:07 pm
Australian Not for Profits will be asked to bring forward examples of innovation which have been effective in reducing homelessness as part of the Federal Government’s national strategy to fight homelessness.
And the man chosen to produce the national strategy, Tony Nicholson, the executive director of the Brotherhood of Saint Laurence says that many people in the community sector have, for the first time in 15 years of unprecedented prosperity and a steady increase in homelessness, a sense of relief and expectation that at last something can be done.
Nicholson says he believes that over the next decade Australia can break the cycle and make inroads into the serious issue of homelessness especially given the leadership from the new Prime Minister, Kevin Rudd.
He says there are 1300 community and charity groups involved in the delivery of services to the homeless as well as volunteers and many philanthropic organisations and individuals who financially support this work.
Nicholson says a lot of people have knowledge of the phenomenon of homelessness and following on from a Green Paper (the precursor to the final White Paper) these people will have an opportunity to put forward their ideas, comments and suggestions.
In particular he says where people have examples of innovative strategies that have been shown to be effective.
He says there are pockets of innovation around Australia and the task will be to look at these and see what would be needed to make them work on a large scale.
On 27 January 2008, the Prime Minister announced that the Government would develop a White Paper on Homelessness to set the agenda on homelessness for the next decade.
More recently the Federal Housing Minister Tanya Plibersek announced two key appointments to join Tony Nicholson’s steering committee.
Heather Nancarrow, a Queensland expert on family and domestic violence and Anna Buduls, a corporate adviser and investment banker from NSW have joined the Steering Group that will oversee the White Paper process.
Nancarrow is currently the Director of Queensland Centre for Domestic and Family Violence Research. She is an experienced academic and public servant and provided advice to the Commonwealth and State Governments on the Supported Accommodation Assistance Program.
Buduls is a corporate adviser and philanthropist. She has worked as a journalist with the Australian Financial Review, a corporate adviser to Macquarie Bank and managed investor relations at Westpac. Buduls has also been actively involved in homeless services as a philanthropist.
Tony Nicholson says it’s a good mix of people.
He says because homelessness is such a complex phenomenon with a diversity of people, solutions rely on a high degree of collaboration across all governments and departments and the community sector.
In the past he says there have been problems with bickering between the states but he is confident now that there is goodwill on all parts.
He says the collaboration is critical to developing a multi-pronged solution.
The Green Paper will be tabled in Federal Parliament and then issued for formal consultation during May 2008.
A call for submissions will be advertised nationally and on the Department of Families, Housing, Community Services and Indigenous Affairs website at www.fahcsia.gov.au
The White Paper is expected to be released in August / September 2008.