7 April 2021
Hunter homeless and housing update
A recent state-wide count of people sleeping rough conducted by the NSW Government has revealed that in Maitland (2020/12 – 2021/3) there was a decrease of nine, and in Port Stephens (2020/4 – 2021/11) an increase of seven from last year.
Hume Community Housing’s Housing Options Manager, Jenna Nadiotis, said Hume’s data also shows an increase in the need for temporary accommodation.
“Hume’s data highlights the need for temporary accommodation has increased by 24%,” she said.
“On average Hume receives around 1000 enquiries per month from customers seeking assistance for temporary accommodation because they are either experiencing homelessness or at risk of becoming homeless. On average there are 20 households per night provided with temporary accommodation through Hume.
"In Raymond Terrace the Vacancy Rate for February 2021 dropped to 0.4%. While the average weekly rental price increased to over $327 for all units, over $410/week for all houses,” said Nadiotis.
“In Maitland, the picture was similar with the February Vacancy rate down to 0.5% and average weekly rental prices up to over $340 for all units, and over $453/week for all houses.”
Despite the local Hunter variances, the number of people that were counted sleeping rough across NSW has reduced by 14 per cent in the last year, mainly due to the NSW Government’s strong focus on empowering people to break the cycle of homelessness.
Minister for Families, Communities and Disability Services Gareth Ward said the second annual state-wide street count of rough sleepers had recorded 1,131 people compared to 1,314 people last year.
“The last 12 months has been the most challenging in living memory and our Government has worked tirelessly alongside our non-government partners to prevent and respond to homelessness during that time,” Mr Ward said.
“This work has helped hundreds of rough sleepers secure housing and prevented thousands of people from becoming homeless by helping them maintain tenancies in the private rental market.”
More than 150 local organisations – including Hume Community Housing and it’s local partners Port Stephens Family and Neighbourhood Services (PSFaNS), and Carrie’s Place Domestic Violence and Homelessness Services – partnered with the NSW Government to complete street counts in more than 280 towns and suburbs in 70 local government areas.
The City of Sydney, which accounts for the largest cohort of rough sleepers in the state, recorded a 19 per cent reduction.
The NSW Government has expanded assertive outreach to almost 60 locations and has invested $65 million in the new Together Home initiative, of which Hume is a part, to provide secure housing and wrap-around supports for people who were sleeping rough.
The annual street count will provide NSW Government with valuable data as it pursues the Premier’s Priority of halving street sleeping across the state by 2025.
As part of its Carinya Program, Hume Community Housing is also providing head leased properties to support women and children forced into homelessness. Hume take on the lease of the property for up to three years. In this time, PSFaNS or Carrie’s Place provide wrap-around support to customers with their independent housing plan.