Monday, 3 March 2014

Shadow Ministers visit Jewish House

Joseph Zamit, Ron Hoenig MP, Walt Secord MLC, Rabbit Mendel Kastel & Sophie Costsis MLC
I was delighted to be accompanied on a visit to Jewish House by The Hon. Walt Secord MLC, Shadow Minister for Roads and The Hon. Sophie Cotsis MLC, Shadow Minister for Housing to inspect their facilities used to provide assistance for the homeless in the Eastern Suburbs.

Jewish House is a not for profit organisation headed by Rabbi Kastel providing assistance to all members of the community who are homeless or at risk of being homeless.

Jewish House provides a refuge for individuals and families who have no other option than to sleep out on the street.

Jewish House provides accommodation for up to 12 men, women and children at a time for up to two weeks and offer case management services to help locate more permanent accommodation and other support services that may be appropriate.

They provide kennels to accommodate homeless people with pets, who would otherwise choose to sleep on the streets instead of leaving their four legged friends behind.

Their approach to tackling homelessness extends to services such as financial counselling assistance that help prevent the vulnerable from becoming homeless.

It is a holistic approach which also includes programmes such as psychological counselling and other mental health services to ensure clients do not fall into an insidious cycle of falling into homelessness and becoming reliant on community support.

Shadow Housing Minister, Sophie Cotsis said Rabbi Kastel and Jewish House have some bold proposals for tackling homelessness.

“In 11 March 2014, Jewish House will release their Project 2500 report; backed by consultancy firm PriceWaterhouseCoopers, it proposes a systemic and responsive approach to homelessness by incorporating programmes from overseas in particular initiatives developed for the City of New York, where the law requires the City provide a bed for every homeless person.

“What is important about the initiatives in the Project 2500 report is that it is devised with today’s fiscal constraints in mind.

“Funding of services that address homelessness have reached boiling point. The Government no longer wants to inject much needed funds to community programmes assisting the homeless and current services cannot cope with the demand.

“According to the ABS homelessness in NSW is up 26% from 2006 figures. A fresh approach is needed to stem the tide.

“Jewish House and the Project 2500 report will provide some much needed vision in addressing homelessness in NSW.

“I look forward to working with Rabbi Kastel and Jewish House now and in the future, Ms Cotsis said.

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