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Extract from Hansard - Foundation Barossa

Tags: Building Communities / Young People / Barossa

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  • By Light Electoral Office
  • Sep 10, 2020
Extract from Hansard - Foundation Barossa

The Hon. A. PICCOLO (Light) (15:51): Today, I bring to the attention of the house a project undertaken by a foundation in the region. The foundation I would like to speak about is Foundation Barossa. Foundation Barossa is undertaking a very important project in partnership with Kids Under Cover and Centacare Youth Homelessness in the Barossa area.

We all know that homelessness is a major problem in our community, and in particular, youth homelessness. What we do not fully understand is how the pandemic has made it worse. The foundation has done some research in the Barossa area and found that prior to the pandemic being declared in South Australia, there were 44 children in the Barossa region who were identified as homeless. In their view, this number has increased significantly, with children as young as eight years old presenting as homeless to Centacare, one of the partners in this project.

Foundation Barossa believes that with COVID people across the country are being told to stay home. For some young people, this is a very difficult ask. There is no youth shelter in the region and there is a worrying increase in the number of children sleeping rough and in cars during the cold winter. There is a misconception in society that young people experience homelessness by choice. The reality is very different. As with all homelessness, people assume it is a choice. The issues are vast and complex

For at-risk young people, their lives have become emotionally and often physically unbearable. Their home life may be impacted by the disadvantage of poverty, neglect, abuse, unemployment, substance abuse, health issues, disability and mental illness, amongst others. I commend Foundation Barossa for undertaking to work with Kids Under Cover and Centacare to initiate this project.

Kids Under Cover runs an innovative, evidence-based studio program which provides secure and stable accommodation for young people at risk of homelessness. They build relocatable one-bedroom and two-bedroom (with bathroom) studios that are installed in the backyard of the family or carer's home. Each studio is used to prevent homelessness on average for four children. The extra space relieves overcrowding, eases tensions and provides young people with a secure and stable place, giving at-risk young people the room to recover and develop.

The other partner, Centacare, provides case management, early intervention, outreach, post-crisis, and waitlist support to young people who are homeless or at risk of homelessness in the Barossa region. The foundation is now very busy trying to raise $100,000 to support this project. The foundation also does other things, such as offering scholarships, which I will talk about on another day. The foundation is now seeking to find 100 people who will donate $1,000 each to make this project sustainable in the long term. I commend the foundation for the work they have done.

I also commend the work being undertaken by the churches in my town of Gawler. The churches have now embarked on a project to provide a night shelter for people sleeping rough in the town of Gawler. Sadly, this government has neglected to actually address the issue of homelessness outside the CBD. I commend the work they did in the CBD, but out in the regions, in places like Gawler and the Barossa, there has been no additional money put into budgets to support those programs to treat homeless people. The churches are coming together now to hopefully open next year a night shelter service, which will provide a meal, a place to sleep, a place to wash and a place to wash clothes and provide some people with some dignity.

The last matter I would like to raise very briefly today is the issue of country football. I am sure that a lot of other members in this place would relate to country football. The clubs are now fast approaching their finals. I understand the restrictions in place are there to keep people safe. There is no dispute there, but what I am seeing now are a lot of clubs and leagues doing it really tough to actually keep the clubs financially sustainable.

My local league, the Barossa Light and Gawler Football Association, are seeking some support from the government to actually ease some of those restrictions, if possible, to make sure that the final series can be successful and to make sure that we have a league next year.

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