People without homes shouldn’t be without hope

The NSW Greens spokesperson for Housing and Homelessness, Jan Barham MLC, is calling on the State Government to demonstrate their commitment to people across the State who find themselves homeless.

The call comes as National Homeless Person’s week is marked across the country.

“This week we will be reminded that approximately 30,000 people in NSW are considered homeless” said Jan Barham. “That’s 30,000 people spending tonight without a bed and without a home.”

“The reality is that people find themselves in this position for a whole host of reasons – they may have been rejected from their family home, have mental health issues, be fleeing domestic violence or dealing with addiction or they may just suddenly find themselves in financial trouble, unable to cope with the increasing cost of living.”

“Whatever the reason for someone becoming homeless, it’s up to all of us as a responsible and caring society to ensure there is support and help available. I am presenting a motion to the Parliament seeking a Government commitment to increase the delivery of support for these vulnerable people.”

The motion will be presented when Parliament resumes next week, calling for a range of initiatives including that:

  • the Premier’s Advisory Council on Homelessness be retained and meet regularly;
  • all Councils to have a nominated staff member responsible for ensuring their Council adheres to the Homeless Persons Protocol;
  • all Councils to be required to report on local initiatives for addressing homelessness in their Local Government Area in their Annual Report;
  • the 10 Regional Homeless Action Plans developed in July 2010 be reviewed;
  • the balance of funds from the NSW allocation under the 2009-10 National Partnership Agreement on Homelessness be identified for a funding program to support local government to meet the needs of homeless people;

“I believe there is a stronger role for local councils to play in the provision of services” said Jan. “They know the local problems and they know the local solutions. I’m encouraging the State to work more closely with local government to allow them to be part of the solution, working with non government organisations – but only with adequate support and funding from the State. There is a role for the Government in providing a funding source to local communities to assist in supporting those who find themselves without a home and desperately in need of access to services and support.”

Full text of Jan Barham’s Motion in Parliament – NSW LEGISLATIVE COUNCIL.Motion 698 – Homelessness (BARHAM)

National Homeless Person’s Week 2012 runs from August 6th – 12th and more information can be found at www.HomelessnessAustralia.org.au

A summary of Jan’s actions on homelessness – Summary of Greens Actions on Homelessness May 2012

For Further Comment, please contact Jan Barham directly on 0407 065 061

Have Your Say on Boarding House reform!

The NSW Greens spokesperson for Housing, Jan Barham MLC is calling on the public to lodge submissions as part of the Government’s consultation on reforms to the Boarding House Sector. In June, the Government released an Exposure Draft Boarding Houses Bill 2012 and a position paper.

The Bill proposes a new legislative framework that aims to protect vulnerable residents and comes after calls from the NSW Greens and advocacy groups for reform to the sector. The situation with boarding houses that accommodate people with disabilities is desperately in need of reform as there is a history of abuses. The lack of a state wide register of premises has made it difficult to monitor the performance of the premises and this is addressed in the new proposal.

A new scheme of occupancy rights for residents is provided and an increase in penalties for offences, criminal checks for staff and provisions that allow authorised advocates to enter premises.

Jan Barham welcomes the changes proposed by the Government but has raised some areas that could be strengthened.

“This Exposure Bill comes after numerous distressing reports from the Ombudsman about abuses and lack of regulation and oversight in the Boarding House Sector” said Jan Barham.

“The changes being proposed will tighten up the processes that oversee how the sector is run and will lead to improvements in the quality of life and rights for those in our community that live in boarding houses. There is however a need to strengthen the requirements for in the proposal to ensure coverage of premises that provide occupancy agreements and that greater oversight by government agencies to protect the rights of residents, particularly those with disabilities”

“The rights of vulnerable members of society are able to strengthened with this new legislation. It’s vital that the community respond to the draft document and make submissions to ensure the protection and well being of those who live in boarding houses is improved and the failings of the past are not repeated”

The Exposure Draft is on public exhibition with submissions to be lodged by Friday August 10th. Jan Barham has prepared a briefing paper and a submission guide and is encouraging the community to have their say.

• Briefing Paper and Submission Guide: http://www.janbarham.org.au/?p=1057

• Exposure Draft Boarding Houses Bill 2012:  http://www.ncoss.org.au/resources/120704-Exposure-Draft-Boarding-House-Bill-2012.pdf

For Further Comment, please contact Jan Barham directly on 0407 065 061

Have Your Say on Boarding House Reform

The NSW Government has released an Exposure Draft Boarding Houses Bill 2012 for discussion. The Bill aims to protect vulnerable residents and comes after calls from the NSW Greens and advocacy groups for reform to the sector and distressing reports from the Ombudsman about abuses and lack of regulation and oversight.

The Bill proposes a new legislative framework that aims to protect vulnerable residents and comes after calls from the NSW Greens and advocacy groups for reform to the sector. The situation with boarding houses that accommodate people with disabilities is desperately in need of reform as there is a history of abuses. The lack of a state wide register of premises has made it difficult to monitor the performance of the premises and this is addressed in the new proposal. A new scheme of occupancy rights for residents is provided and an increase in penalties for offences, criminal checks for staff and provisions that allow authorised advocates to enter premises.

Below is a Briefing Paper that outlines some of the key aspects of the Bill. A Submission Guide is also provided for those who would like to formally respond to the Government.

Submissions are due by Friday August 10th.

Jan BARHAM_Boarding House Briefing Paper August 2012

Submission Guide – Boarding houses

Improving the Mobility Parking Scheme

The NSW Government is currently conducting a review of the Mobility Parking Scheme. It’s generally acknowledged that the current system could be improved and The Greens support measures to ensure the scheme is fair and robust. The review is also part of moves towards a national scheme that will provide certainty and clarity to users across all States. A discussion paper was released in May and Jan has provided a submission in response. Please find below a copy of both documents.

Jan BARHAM submission – Mobility Parking Scheme Review July 2012

MPS Discussion Paper