A HOMELESS service for the Tomaree peninsula will close its doors on October 31 after 25 years.
But Yacaaba Centre in Nelson Bay says the campaign to keep operating is not over.
Yacaaba was one of many small NSW homeless providers to lose funding under the NSW Government’s Going Home Staying Home reforms, which consolidated 336 individual services into 149 new service packages under 69 non-government organisations.
Under the reforms Port Stephens Family Support Services and Raymond Terrace Neighbourhood Centre will jointly provide homeless services to the whole Port Stephens area, with a significant boost to funding.
Yacaaba manager Lynn Vatner welcomed the funding increase, but said her organisation had applied for both state and federal grants because of concerns the Tomaree peninsula would be disadvantaged because of the new arrangements.
Once we’re closed, we’re gone.Yacaaba manager Lynn Vatner
‘‘For the past 25 years we’ve built up an amazing network of support and contacts, so that more than 25 per cent of our funding is from donations which we distribute to meet the need for services on the Tomaree peninsula,’’ Ms Vatner said.
‘‘This end of the Port Stephens area is extremely isolated. We’ve moulded ourselves to meet what the area has needed, and we’re concerned about what’s going to happen in future. Once we’re closed, we’re gone. We’re looking at all options to keep a service for the Tomaree peninsula.’’
From October 31 the Nelson Bay house from which Yacaaba has operated will become available for a homeless family.
A spokeswoman for Family and Community Services Minister Gabrielle Upton said: ‘‘While service providers may change under the Going Home Staying Home reforms, the services they delivered will continue.’’
By GABRIEL WINGATE-PEARSE
WOMEN’S refuges adversely affected by changes to State Government funding of homeless services will be in the spotlight at a forum on Domestic Violence being held in Lambton today.
Three Hunter services have been told to ‘‘re-tender’’, while others are still digesting recent funding announcements which will radically alter the way they operate, under the government’s new Going Home Staying Home policy.
Another two women’s refuges which cater specifically for women escaping domestic violence have also been adversely affected.
The first, based in Newcastle, is likely to continue but with reduced funding meaning it may not stay open over night, and the second Hunter-based service appears has funding, but not to function as a women’s specific service.
Roxanne McMurray, a spokeswoman for SOS Women’s Services set up to lead a campaign against the changes, said Newcastle and Central Coast services had been badly affected.
‘‘Women’s refuges have either been taken over by large religious organisations or had staff and funding cut so they can no longer operate 24/7,’’ she said. ‘‘Women fleeing violence and abuse with their children want to know they’re in a safe environment and police need to know where to take them. If police have to intervene in a domestic violence incident at 2 am and there’s no refuge open or the woman doesn’t feel comfortable going to a service that houses men, where will they take them.’’
The forum, organised by NSW Labor Deputy leader Linda Burney, along with opposition spokeswoman for women Sophie Cotsis and being held at Lambton Bowling Club from 10am, will explore the issues surrounding the new funding landscape.