Homelessness on Minister’s Agenda for US
11 December 2012 at 2:01 pm
Federal Minister for Housing, Homelessness and Small Business Brendan O'Connor will use a trip to the US to develop ways to encourage Australia's corporate and private sector to partner with governments and the Not for Profit sector to tackle homelessness.
The Minister is in the United States this week for a series of meetings and visits with government officials, homelessness services and philanthropic groups and small business start-up companies.
O'Connor has met with Nan Roman, the president of the National Alliance to End Homelessness in the USA, and with representatives of the Gates Foundation and the Butler Family Fund – a private fund which focuses on homelessness, criminal justice and global warming.
"Tackling homelessness is not just a challenge for governments – it is a challenge for the community as a whole," O'Connor said.
"The United States has a highly developed and mature philanthropic tradition, and I am keen to hear about ways to encourage Australia's corporate and private sector to partner with governments and the Not for Profit sector in this challenge.
O'Connor will also meet with Australian Ambassador Kim Beazley at a fundraiser at the Australian Embassy for victims of Superstorm Sandy, which forced thousands of people out of their homes.
He will also meet with the Secretary of the Department of Housing and Urban Development, the Deputy Administrator of the US Small Business Administration, and the Treasury's Deputy Assistant Treasurer for Small Business, Community Development and Housing Policy.
O'Connor will tour the Bowery Mission, New York's oldest homeless refuge, and Common Ground's flagship housing residence in Times Square.
"I am also looking forward to visiting Common Ground. Both these services offer more than a bed for the night – they include counselling, medical services and education and training to ensure that people do not simply cycle through homelessness services."
O'Connor will also visit San Francisco for planned talks with eBay, Paypal, Facebook and Australian early-stage venture fund, Southern Cross Venture Partners.
"This is a great opportunity for me to talk to some of the world's most successful start-ups and bring those lessons back to Australia," O'Connor said.
"These are companies which started as small businesses and have grown into world-wide enterprises with incredible global reach."