Homeless likely to pay price under state government reforms

HOMELESSNESS NSW has delivered a sombre review of the state government's changes to its homelessness services.

The peak non-profit organisation says there will be less specific services for youth, women and the Aboriginal population, despite growing demand.

The assessment carried out by Homelessness NSW shows a 9 per cent cut in the total number of women's services, a 3 per cent cut to Aboriginal-controlled services and a slight cut in youth-specific services.

The state government has announced $515 million for homelessness over the next three years, but it will consolidate 336 individual services into 149, operated by 69 non-government organisations.

Up to seven Hunter services are expected to be affected by the changes, including Wallsend's Warlga Ngurra Women and Children's Refuge.

Last month The Star revealed CatholicCare had been invited to bid to take over Aboriginal homelessness services in Newcastle, Lake Macquarie and Port Stephens as part of "Going Home Staying Home" reforms.

The state government wants all new contracts operating by November 1.

Homelessness NSW has questioned whether service quality can be maintained. It has been widely reported that Christian organisations have been approached by the state to take over most services.

The Star contacted CatholicCare, but it refused to confirm if it was still interested in submitting a tender. Wesley Mission was also approached for comment about the McKenzie Day Centre in Newcastle West, but it did not respond to requests from The Star.

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