Two Iconic Adelaide services for the homeless and those experiencing domestic violence have been excluded from the recent announcement by the South Australian Government to restructure the SA homelessness services.
The Hutt Street Centre and Catherine House have long been a place of refuge for those doing it tough, with a collective 100 years in service, and are bracing themselves for a cut of $2.4 million combined.
Although the cuts won’t see the establishments close their doors permanently, the lack of funding will see massive changes in the services both The Hutt Street Centre and Catherine House provide those who seek refuge with them. The structure comes as the biggest shake-up of homelessness services in more than a decade, and will follow a plan proposed to create five new service alliances across South Australia.
Manager of Client Services at Catherine House, Deirdre Flynn, said the decision announced by Minister for Human Services Michelle Lensink will erase a third of their current operating budget.
“If ever there was a time for our organisation to live up to our values and demonstrate the resilience, compassion and tenacity that has always been our hallmark – characteristics we see every day in the women we support – that time is now,” she says.
“Our clients have already suffered significantly in their lives and we exist to support them. Their best interests are and will remain at the heart of everything we do.”
The defunding for both of these establishments is also expected to have a significant impact on jobs at both centres, but the full trajectory is yet to be known.
The government claim their new proposed plan will distribute funding across services more effectively. Organised into four regions in the north and south in both Adelaide and regional Adelaide, the new alliances will seek to intervene early to prevent people falling into homelessness, as well as support people into safe, stable and long-term housing to reduce the cycle of homelessness.
For the first-time, a renewed focus on mental health is a major factor of the new Adelaide South alliance with Minister Lensink acknowledging this as an accompanying concern for the homeless.
“We know that mental health issues and homelessness often go hand in hand and tackling this issue through targeted support is key to helping reduce homelessness in South Australia,” she says.
The fifth alliance will focus on domestic and family violence support – much like the lifesaving services Catherine House currently offer for women in crisis.
The new services are expected to rollout from 1 July 2021.