Isaacs Electorate: Hanover Welfare Services

I recently had the privilege of visiting Hanover South East Short Stay Crisis Accommodation Centre in Robinson Street, Dandenong. Hanover Welfare Services provides a range of facilities in Melbourne, including crisis and transitional housing at Hanover Southbank; the Hanover Southern Housing and Support Service, based in Cheltenham; and the Hanover Inner North Support Team and Outreach Team. I was also able to visit Hanover Southern late last year. Both Hanover Southern and Hanover South East serve the people of our electorate. Since opening its new facility in August 2006, Hanover South East has provided crisis accommodation to nearly 400 individuals and families through its 15 rooms and units. People using this service may have found themselves without housing for a range of reasons. What they all share is a need for support, for access to services and for respect at a critical time in their lives.

Mr DREYFUS (4:26 PM) —by leave—I recently had the privilege of visiting Hanover South East Short Stay Crisis Accommodation Centre in Robinson Street, Dandenong. Hanover Welfare Services provides a range of facilities in Melbourne, including crisis and transitional housing at Hanover Southbank; the Hanover Southern Housing and Support Service, based in Cheltenham; and the Hanover Inner North Support Team and Outreach Team. I was also able to visit Hanover Southern late last year. Both Hanover Southern and Hanover South East serve the people of our electorate. Since opening its new facility in August 2006, Hanover South East has provided crisis accommodation to nearly 400 individuals and families through its 15 rooms and units. People using this service may have found themselves without housing for a range of reasons. What they all share is a need for support, for access to services and for respect at a critical time in their lives.

People who are homeless often require help with more than just housing. The staff at Hanover South East told me about their proactive case management approach. They seek to address not just housing issues but also the causes of housing breakdown. The support workers assist clients from initial entry through crisis accommodation and often on to transitional housing. They engage other health and welfare services such as drug treatment or mental health support. They work with employment agencies to help those clients who have been out of the labour market, many of them for some time, to find employment. They work with local schools to minimise the impact that short-term homelessness has on the children in affected families. They even run a weekly playgroup.

Sadly, despite the work of the staff at Hanover South East and of many individuals and organisations around Australia, homelessness remains all too common a problem in our country. On a given night, 100,000 Australians are homeless and some 14,000 are sleeping rough. Providing support and services to those who find themselves in this situation is critical to dramatically reducing the incidence of homelessness in Australia. The problem of homelessness also requires national leadership. I am pleased that the government will be building on our commitment of $150 million to construct 600 new homes for homeless people by developing a comprehensive long-term plan to reduce homelessness. Our Prime Minister, Kevin Rudd, said in January:

I do not want to live in a country where we simply discard people. I don’t want to live in a country … where it’s acceptable for people to be sleeping rough every night. We’re not like that … we intend to make a difference.

In our endeavours to achieve this, the hard work and dedicated service of the staff at Hanover South East provides an example to us all.