City takes homelessnesss action

City takes homelessnesss action

Alocal councillor has been prompted to question what work is being pursued by Mount Gambier City Council after witnessing homelessness in the Blue Lake city.

Councillor Paul Jenner said he has observed and heard of personal experiences of increasing incidents of homelessness in and around the city.

This has included seeing people sleeping rough in public spaces, sleeping in vehicles or camping.

When council met for its March monthly meeting Cr Jenner posed a question without notice asking for an outline of the advocacy council intended to take with the State Government on homelessness.

Cr Jenner sought information regarding general housing, social housing, key worker housing and emergency housing supply issues, in the immediate future and in the context of the government’s various housing strategies.

Corporate and Regulatory Services general manager Jane Fetherstonhaugh a meeting was convened on March 5 with representatives from SAPOL and

She said the meeting addressed social challenges within the Cave Gardens Precinct including the town hall and library areas.

“Discussions centred on issues such as homelessness, concerning behaviour, and alcohol misuse in the vicinity,” Ms Fetherstonhaugh said.

“SAPOL indicated that merely relocating individuals would not resolve the problem, however, they committed to intervening in cases of disorderly conduct.

“A lot of these individuals also have mental health issues.

Both SAPOL and voiced significant concerns regarding the adequacy of mental health services.

“It was noted that Mount Gambier has an estimated 150 homeless individuals, with the majority actively seeking temporary housing.

“Some of these individuals are just passing through and generally leave when the weather turns colder.

“ offers tents to the homeless, yet there is a lack of free camping sites within the city.

“Additionally, local caravan parks are hesitant to accommodate these individuals, even if they are willing to pay.”

City Infrastructure general manager Barbara Cernovskis provided information on council’s progress with the Local Affordable Housing Plan.

“A draft Local Affordable Housing Plan will be presented to the executive leadership team on April 24, 2024, for review,” she said.

“The draft Local Affordable Housing Plan will be provided to elected members at an Informal Briefing on April 30.

“A report will be taken to council on May 21 to endorse the draft Local Affordable Housing Plan and proceed to consultation.”

Community consultation will occur from May 22 to June 11 and a draft plan will be updated to reflect the feedback received from the community.

The draft plan will be presented to council for endorsement on July 20.

“All things going well we should be able to meet our Regionalisation Ambition Pledge in time for the RAI National Summit in August,” Ms Cernovskis said.

Meanwhile, chief executive Sarah Philpott advised Mayor Lynette Martin is in the process of writing to the State Government about the recently adopted Partnership Priorities and Advocacy Document.

“As part of that, contact will be made with Minister (for Human Services) Nat Cook regarding the government’s strategies for homelessness, social housing and emergency accommodation and a meeting will be sought as a matter of importance,” Ms Philpott said.

“Other relevant government ministers will have the overarching matter of housing raised, and Mr Troy Bell MP will be involved as our local Member for Mount Gambier, given his advocacy on these issues.”

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