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Get moving on homelessness DAs, say Wollongong Greens council candidates

Approving development applications to expand homelessness services should be sped up to cater for their growing need, Greens candidates for Wollongong City Council said.

Ward 2 candidate Kit Docker, who is a volunteer at the Wollongong Homeless Hub, said recent figures from the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare showed Wollongong city had seen a sharp increase in people accessing homelessness services in NSW.

"It's disappointing that in the midst of the housing and cost of living crises, frontline services are having to wait up several months or more for their development applications to be approved," Mr Docker said.

"Applications that are crucial to their ability to meet the growing demand for services. I am urging the council to treat this crisis with the urgency it deserves and prioritise DAs for those services on the frontline of this crisis."

Greens candidate for Lord Mayor Jess Whittaker said a DA for the homeless hub has been "held up in council for months and months."

"If it's something that there's a need for the community, it's recognising that need maybe above other things that are in the list and addressing that by liaising with the homeless services working out what they need and how we need to make it happen so that they have those services available to the community," Ms Whittaker said.

"Just working in partnership with them instead of them being put into the same process as everyone else. They are just such an important service and they're providing so many facilities and food and services to people in our community who are doing it tougher than anyone else.

Last week, the city was rocked by the alleged murder of homeless man Raymond McCormack at the Wollongong train station car park. Ms Whittaker said the Greens call to streamline applications from homelessness services wasn't prompted by that case. "We've been talking about this for a while," she said. "Kit volunteers with the homeless hub and has a really good relationship with them and has been talking to them about this for some time. "It wasn't because of Ray's unfortunate death that we came up with this policy. "We just thought that we had it ready to go and it's a really great time to talk about the need in the community and how desperate the need for services for people who are sleeping rough."


Story by Glen Humphries in the Illawarra Mercury, 19 May 2024.