Rough sleepers in Tasmania will soon have more options for safe refuge thanks to a $4.3 million injection into the state's housing and homelesseness sector.
Housing Minister Roger Jaensch announced the package on Wednesday, and said the money would be used for three main components:
SAFE REFUGE SPACES
A Safe Night Space pilot program set up by the government in December last year currently provides a temporary overnight space for rough sleepers in Hobart.
"We will extend the program, delivered through a partnership between Hobart City Mission, the Salvation Army and Launceston City Mission, to cover our three main urban centres, and from an overnight service into a 24/7 full wrap around support service and including outreach," Mr Jaensch said.
"This will ensure some of our most vulnerable people will be able to access a secure place to sleep and the services they need to assist them.
"These measures will ensure that all Tasmanians are able to stay home, and thus save lives as we continue to contain the spread of coronavirus."
The space in Launceston will operate out of the Salvation Army Chapel, and will include about 16 dormitory beds, meals, showers, laundry, lockers, charging stations and network access. A similar space in Burnie will offer 10 beds.
Mr Jaensch said it was not permanent accommodation, but could be accessed 24/7.
IN OTHER NEWS:
The package will also boost Housing Connect, a program which provides emergency accommodation in hotels, motels and cabins.
"People who are in emergency housing need a roof over their head," he said.
"We've said that we will uncap that, and now we have.
"That might be accommodation that's for a few nights or a few weeks. We need to provide that as an option ... so that no one is out in the elements, homeless ... particularly going into winter."
He said the funding would also be used to deliver more mental health support to those people who need it.
Mr Jaensch said the third area of focus would be on young people, providing additional support services for an age group which is increasingly presenting to services such as the Salvation Army for support.
"A lot of the services and shelters that we have aren't set up for younger homeless people," he said.
"We'll be resourcing teams .. so that when those kids turn up they can be referred to appropriately trained teams of people.
"[Trained teams] who can provide individualised case management, who can mediate their return to their family if safe to do so, or to other services if that's appropriate."