$1.9 m contract to bolster YES youth services

Lucinda Rhook is delighted to secure a $1.9 million homelessness contract. Picture: MATTHEW SMITHWICK

Lucinda Rhook is delighted to secure a $1.9 million homelessness contract. Picture: MATTHEW SMITHWICK

HOMELESSNESS and domestic violence services in Albury will be improved after YES Youth and Family Services secured a $1.9 million contract for the Southern Murrumbidgee region yesterday.

The move follows the NSW government’s reform of Specialist Homelessness Services, making services easier to access and helping to tackle the causes of repeat homelessness.

YES Albury acting chief executive Lucinda Rhook was excited to win the contact.

“It’s a great relief to specialist homelessness services across the state for the announcement to finally be made of who has been awarded the Specialist Homelessness Services contracts,” she said.

“We can now move into the next phase of improving and streamlining services for people in need.”

The contract includes all homelessness support services for youth, women — including those experiencing domestic violence — as well as men and families in Southern Murrumbidgee.

Ms Rhook said there would be a shift in service provision, from the existing largely disjointed and inconsistent homelessness service system, to a system that priorities early intervention, rapid rehousing and collaborative practice.

Betty’s Place, the Border’s women’s refuge, was operating under Albury-Wodonga Community Network and now those domestic violence services will transfer to YES.

“So rather than there being four individual contracts in Albury, there’s now one,” Ms Rhook said.

“And YES will also service the whole Southern Murrumbidgee reg-ion through its partnerships.

“All homelessness services that exist will remain and be further enhanced by the ref-orms.

“The reforms were focused on centralising homelessness services.”

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