Unprecedented numbers of South Australia’s homeless population have been housed during the coronavirus pandemic, the state government has announced today.
Minister for Human Services, Michelle Lensink said a total of 250 South Australians who had been rough sleeping prior to COVID-19 were now living in housing after leaving motel accommodation offered as part of the government’s pandemic response.
“To successfully help so many people so quickly off the street and into a longer- term home is a remarkable achievement,” said Minister Lensink.
“While South Australians were in motels, it gave support services an unprecedented opportunity to work with a large number of people to help them stabilise their lives and support them to move into accommodation, rather than risk returning to the streets.
The $7.3 million initiative included $5.9 million to fund short-term motel accommodation and support services, as well as funding for staff and to temporarily house Aboriginal rough sleepers from remote communities.
Ms Lensink thanked staff and providers for working hard to house as many South Australian as possible.
“The State Government has provided $5.9 million funding for motel accommodation and support services to be in place over the next 12 months to give people a strong a chance at maintaining their accommodation,” she said.
“The fact that we have been able to house so many people through organisations working so closely together indicates we are on the right path to making an impact on reducing street homelessness.
“To continue to achieve these positive outcomes for South Australians, we need to make sure that all parts of the homelessness system are working together, and this is central to the homelessness reforms we are undertaking at the moment.
“It really shows what can be achieved when the sector works together to achieve a common goal and I commend all of the hard work that has made this outstanding outcome possible.”
She said the SA Housing Authority had played a major role in housing people during the pandemic, with 182 people now housing in Housing SA properties.
“Eight people are now living in community housing and 60 are now in other accommodation such as boarding houses, supported accommodation, private rental or have been assisted to return home.”
She said that during the height of the pandemic in Adelaide, a number of South Australians sleeping rough housed in temporary motel accommodation had chosen not to engage with homelessness services.
The Authority has worked with a variety of homelessness services in the pandemic motels response, including Street to Home, Uniting Communities, Baptist Care, SYC and the Hutt St Centre.