THE Salvation Army will reduce its support for the Hunter’s homeless for the first time in 60 years due to an overhaul of state government funding arrangements.
The charity was advised on Friday that its application for ongoing funding had been knocked back.
‘‘It’s a massive blow to hear that the Salvation Army has lost its funding for all homelessness services in the Newcastle area,’’ Newcastle region divisional commander Major Gavin Watts said.
The charity received about $870,000* last financial year to employ 13 staff who supported homeless men, single woman and young people.
The $870,000 is a portion of the $1.5 million total cost of running the service.
‘‘Most of all, our concern is for our valued staff who will be directly impacted by these adjustments and also the many clients who have built up a relationship with the Salvation Army over many years,’’ Major Watts said.
The funding cut is the result of the government’s Going Home Staying Home reforms, which have consolidated 336 individual services into 149 new service packages that will be led by 69 non-government organisations.
The new service packages will support approximately 8796 clients in the Hunter New England region who are homeless or at risk of becoming homeless in the Hunter.
The region will receive $17.91million per annum for 25 service packages – a 9per cent increase on the previous financial year.
The region’s successful service providers include the Samaritans Foundation, St Vincent de Paul Society and Nova Womens Accommodation and Support.
‘‘The preferred providers demonstrated through a competitive tender process their strong capability to provide the most effective services for people who are homeless or at risk of becoming homeless,’’ Family and Community Services Minister Gabrielle Upton said.
‘‘The preferred providers bring significant experience, resources and value for money to these communities.’’
Major Watts said the Salvation Army would do its best to continue to support the homeless.
‘‘We are here to help and we will never walk away from those in need but this places a huge question mark over what can be achieved,’’ he said.
*This figure has been amended from a previous version of the article that stated $1.5 million was spent employing the staff.