Homeless care groups win govt funding reprieve

HOMELESSNESS programs such as Hervey Bay's Youthcare shelter have been given a reprieve with the announcement funding due to run out in June will be renewed for a further year.

Youthcare Hervey Bay president Brian Hoole told the Chronicle last month the program was facing the possibility of closure with- out a new funding agreement.

The existing state and federal program was due to expire at the end of the financial year, and Prime Minister Tony Abbott had repeatedly said he would not announce a new funding arrangement until the May budget.

Yesterday, federal social services minister Kevin Andrews announced the government will allocate $115 million in 2014/15.

Rev Hoole said the early announcement would give shelters such as Youthcare the chance to provide continuity to clients.

The shelter takes in young people without a home from across the Fraser Coast and can spent several months helping clients either return to the family home or learn how to live independently.

Rev Hoole and other Youthcare executives met with state MPs Anne Maddern and Ted Sorensen and federal MP Keith Pitt last month over funding concerns.

"We would thank our local members for their support," he said.

Rev Hoole said it was still unknown whether the group would receive the same amount of funding.

Federal social services minister Kevin Andrews told media in Melbourne yesterday the funding announcement was brought forward to give service providers some assurance.

"It came to our attention that contracts were starting to run out and people needed some time in order to be forward in terms of employment of staff on an ongoing basis and even in some instances, the rental of property," he said.

Queensland Housing Minister Tim Mander said the Federal Government's contribution to the joint program in Queensland was about $30 million.



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