The health, safety and wellbeing of all Tasmanians is the government’s number one priority as we continue to deal with the coronavirus pandemic. This includes ensuring our most vulnerable have access to safe and secure accommodation. As Homelessness Week kicks off for 2020, Tasmanians can rest assured that’s exactly what we are doing.
In April we announced a $4.3 million housing and homelessness support package for Tasmanians without secure accommodation during the health emergency.
This includes funding to expand Hobart’s successful Safe Night Space program into a 24 hour a day service operating in Burnie, Launceston and Hobart, ensuring that Tasmanians couch surfing or sleeping rough can access both a safe overnight refuge, and the services they need to secure longer-term accommodation.
The package also includes extra funding to expand Housing Connect’s capacity to provide emergency accommodation in hotels, motels and cabins statewide and, importantly, increased mental health support services for clients who need them.
This year has thrown up many challenges for so many people, and these measures will ensure we can help more people through it, with a range of services to meet their individual needs.
We are also continuing with the expansion of our homeless shelters right across the state, with 18 new pods at Bethlehem House and 10 new units at the Hobart Women’s shelter now taking tenants, and work under way to convert the Waratah Hotel into a supported accommodation facility.
These measures will ensure more Tasmanians have somewhere safe to stay and follow public health advice, while receiving the support they need to get their lives back on track.
On top of that, we are delivering hundreds of new homes and units under our Affordable Housing Strategy and have committed to delivering 1220 new social housing dwellings over the next three years through the government’s $3.1 billion construction blitz, providing secure, long-term accommodation for Tasmanians waiting for housing.
This has been a stressful year for those seeking our services, as well as those providing them.
Our passionate and dedicated workers have been on the front line as we have dealt with everything 2020 has thrown at us so far, and I thank everyone in our workforce and partner organisations who has worked so hard to help their fellow Tasmanians.
These have been challenging and rapidly changing circumstances to work under, not just in helping others but also keeping ourselves and our families safe under new hygiene standards and restrictions.
Your work has saved lives, and you have helped hundreds of Tasmanians to take greater control of their lives in these uncertain times. Thank you.