Hutt Street Centre calls for millions in state funding

Hutt Street Centre wants $15 million in state government funding to extend a program it says helps the chronic homeless and relieves pressure on health services.

Jan 17, 2024, updated Jan 17, 2024
Hutt St Centre CEO Chris Burns has announced the impact of the Aspire program. Image: InDaily

Hutt St Centre CEO Chris Burns has announced the impact of the Aspire program. Image: InDaily

The Aspire program is a collaboration between Hutt St Centre, the state government and community housing providers to help people who are experiencing chronic homelessness in metropolitan Adelaide.

The program’s funding, which previously came from Social Impact Bond, a private investor, runs out in June and centre CEO Chris Burns is asking for $15 million to extend the program for seven years and help another 600 people.

Burns said the program has not only helped individuals but relieved pressure on state government services.

“Aspire participants are less likely to have interactions with the health and justice systems, it’s easier for them to find a job, and the State Government no longer needs to support people to access emergency accommodation,” he said.

“Finding a home for the most vulnerable in our community provides greater stability for many, which means their health improves when they’re not out in the cold in winter and they have a safe place to return to at night.”

The number of people experiencing homelessness in South Australia continues to rise. InDaily reported in December last year that more than 100,000 people accessed homeless support services for the first time in 2022/23.

Hutt St Centre calls for $15 million of funding as homeless numbers in South Australia continue to rise. Photo: Tony Lewis/InDaily

Burns said the Aspire program has helped participants avoid 6091 nights in hospital, 1421 convictions and 2847 nights of accommodation over six years.

He said that the program has worked with 575 people experiencing homelessness, with 81 per cent being provided with housing and 86 per cent of those maintaining their tenancies.

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Minister for Human Services Nat Cook commented on the organisation’s request for funding: “Hutt St is a highly valued partner and we look forward to continuing to work with them so they are able to respond to the needs of the community”.

The program supports people for up to three years through a three-step process of stabilisation, re-engagement and monitoring.

Once accepted into the program, intensive case management works to identify key issues contributing to the participant’s homelessness and link them with external support.

Participants are then engaged in education programs with a focus on literacy, numeracy, job readiness and life skills, with one-on-one support and the help of a dedicated employment officer.

Finally, once participants require less intensive support, they may be monitored for up to three years as volunteers provide assistance where required.

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