NSW Community Services Minister Pru Goward confirmed on Monday the state government would not be picking up the tab for it now that the bequest money has run out.
Earlier this month the Tribune reported Anglicare had agreed to keep the homeless shelter’s doors open for a further six months using funds currently being raised with its Winter appeal.
The organisation called on Ms Goward and Burrinjuck MP Katrina Hodgkinson to guarantee the centre’s survival into the new year.
A spokesman for the minister told the Tribune on Monday Ms Goward had investigated whether there were any programs which the centre could apply for “but unfortunately, everything is currently fully committed.”
“Unfortunately, at this stage there is no opportunity to provide recurrent funding for the Rae Burgess Centre through Community Services. Funding through the Specialist Homeless Services program (through Housing NSW) is also currently fully committed.
“It is understood that Anglicare has made a commitment to continue limited funding to the Rae Burgess Centre for another six months.”
The spokesperson said the department funds Mission Australia for similar services in the area. However the Tribune has learned Mission Australia’s Community Connections program is already over capacity and can only accept new clients if Rae Burgess Centre staff can case-manage these clients themselves. The program is based in Goulburn and services a large area including Yass, Goulburn, Young, Upper Lachlan, Mulwaree, Greater Queanbeyan City, Pelarang, Cooma-Monaro, Eurobodalla, Snowy River, Bombala, Bega Valley, Boorowa, Harden and the South Coast.
Mission Australia’s Community Connections manager Cheryl O’Donnell said a Mission Australia staff member currently visits Yass two days of the week at the Rae Burgess Centre, and a majority of the Rae Burgess clients were referred on to the Community Connections program already. Funding for this program would continue until June 2013.
She is working with Anglicare to develop a plan so the Rae Burgess Centre can stay in operation beyond December. She had planned to meet with Ms Goward to discuss the centre on Wednesday, however this meeting has been postponed until next Friday.
General Manager Anglicare NSW Southern Tablelands Simon Bennett said Ms Goward’s response was disappointing and offered no assurance to those currently using the Rae Burgess Centre’s services.
“It is very disappointing that that the Department of Community Services is unable to fund the Rae Burgess Centre which helps so many people each year.
“We are concerned that the NSW government believes that Mission Australia is being funded for “similar” services in Yass. The key question is will Mission Australia have the capacity, given their current funding, to support an additional 100 or more clients which use the Rae Burgess Centre annually?”
“The Minister has stated that the Rae Burgess Centre has provided a valuable homelessness service for the people in Yass Valley – but still no funding. Anglicare is committed to funding the service until December this year and will continue to seek ongoing funding from other sources.”
“The Rae Burgess Centre provides a holistic service. This means we not only find people who are homeless accommodation, but we work with families once they are in stable accommodation to address the underlying issues so they do not become homelessness again.”