Goulburn's homeless men face challenges

KENNEDY HOUSE: The closure of men’s hostel Kennedy House in 2014 has left a gap in services for young homeless men in Goulburn.

KENNEDY HOUSE: The closure of men’s hostel Kennedy House in 2014 has left a gap in services for young homeless men in Goulburn.

WINTER is passing and with it the crisis time for homelessness, but sources say it continues to be a problem for people in Goulburn. 

Family and Community Services (FACS) recently confirmed there are more than 300 people on the waiting list for social housing in Goulburn and over 700 properties occupied by social housing tenants. 

The Post recently became aware of a man who spent eight weeks living out of a hotel room after an offer of public housing fell through. This young man’s accommodation payment was partly assisted by FACS while they kept trying to source him a place. He has since left town, claiming it was too hard to obtain public housing here. 

His case highlights the fact that young men can fall through the cracks in services, especially since the closure of St Vincent de Paul’s Kennedy House Men’s Hostel in 2014. 

Angels for the Forgotten founder Melina Skidmore said Kennedy House was well patronised and the service was badly needed again. 

“It was as bad this winter as the last one – if not worse,” Ms Skidmore said. 

“We have people living in cars and we are still giving out as many food vouchers and assistance as before. There is not much movement in the public housing waiting list and only about five people have got accommodation through FACS recently that were on my books.

“I think the number of homeless here varies between 150-180 people at any one time. This number drops off because they leave town. We help them relocate to other places so they can obtain emergency accommodation.

“Anglicare only has five to seven rooms for emergency accommodation for anyone at anytime, but we do not have a refuge for men since Kennedy House closed. The current model that FACS operates on is not what we need here.” 

Meanwhile, a FACS spokesperson confirmed that locally they support Anglicare, who provide the Goulburn Homelessness Support Service. 

“This service is responsible for assisting single men in addition to other vulnerable members of the community. Young men up to 25, are supported by the Goulburn Youth Homelessness Support Service offered by Southern Youth and Family Services,” she said. 

“FACS and its Specialist Homelessness Service continue to work with any person in urgent need of accommodation, including single men.” 

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