Jo with Linda Burney at Innari

The NSW Labor Opposition has today condemned the Baird Liberal Government’s ‘Going Home, Staying Home’ reforms, which will force over 80 specialist homelessness services across NSW to close their doors – including shelters supporting Aboriginal women.

On a visit to Innari Housing today, Deputy Opposition Leader Linda Burney and Labor Candidate for Summer Hill Jo Haylen expressed concern for the welfare of the people using the service - who will be forced to find alternative accommodation once the refuge closes.

“Many of the women seeking refuge at Innari Housing’s have complex issues that extend beyond their homelessness – which makes specialist services so crucial,” Ms Burney said.

“Innari Housing provides these people with security and stability. Now the rug has been pulled out from under them and they simply have nowhere to go.”

Under Going Home, Staying Home – the Baird Government will redirect funding towards generalist services that house men and women together – regardless of whether this is appropriate to individuals’ needs.

“The Baird government is forcing people into generalist services – but the larger, generalist homeless providers are already overflowing. The Liberals’ policy is a disgrace and completely disregards the varying needs of different sectors of society,” Ms Burney said.

“The Liberals’ whole reform is a shambles - Innari Housing’s funding was due to expire last month. In a quick fix, their funding has been extended for a month, but it is just cruel to leave these people living with the uncertainty of wondering whether they’ll have a place to live or a job next week.  

“To make matters worse – it’s NAIDOC week, a time when we should be celebrating the contribution of our indigenous communities – rather than shutting down centres to go in times of need.”

Labor Candidate for Summer Hill Jo Haylen said:“The Liberals’ homelessness policy is an absolute atrocity. Because of Mike Baird and Gabrielle Upton’s ignorant and cruel approach, these people’s futures are now in question.

“The fact that this centre is now closure is another very sad example of the Baird government failing in its responsibility to support the most vulnerable in our community.

“Homelessness shelters are crucial for people seeking safety and support – and the inner west can’t afford to see a specialist service for the Aboriginal community close its doors.”