FRIDAY, June 13 turned out to be a black day for two long-time local service providers, with Shoalhaven Youth Accommodation and the Shoalhaven Women’s Refuge both missing out on funding under the state government’s Going Home Staying Home tender reform.
“What do we do now?” said a clearly devastated Shoalhaven Youth Accommodation manager Kerri Snowden.
“What do we do with the young people we currently have in accommodation?”
Both organisations have been operating in the local area for 30 years.
The women’s refuge tender has been awarded to the Illawarra Women’s Homelessness and Domestic and Family Violence Support Service, while the youth accommodation tender has gone to CareSouth.
Ms Snowden, who has been with the service since its beginning, said she was almost too emotional to talk about the decision.
“I’m devastated. Angry. At a loss. There have certainly been lots of tears,” she said.
The state government’s decision will see the nine beds and accommodation run by the service move to the family tender, resulting in fewer beds for youth homelessness in the Shoalhaven.
‘The City of Shoalhaven is the loser here’
“The big operations are definitely the big winners,” she said.
“There is no way our clients would be able to afford private rental and with the federal government’s decision to reduce benefits and with the lack of employment, training and transport opportunities in the Shoalhaven, the future looks grim.
“Many of our clients can’t go home. It was a nice philosophy but it won’t work.
“The amount of job losses across the sector around the state during this reform has been merciless.”
She said the tendering process was not fair.
“We have asked numerous questions through the whole process but have been given no answers,” she said.
“We have five full-time staff, a couple of them single mothers. What are they going to do?”
Chairman June Baker was more to the point saying it was a “right cockup”.
“It’s a kick in the guts,” she said.
“It appears most of the tenders have gone to big organisations, which have large infrastructure around them. The little groups are gone.
“We won’t be going down without a fight.”