The Going Home Staying Home reforms to the state’s homeless services will see $75,000 taken from Holroyd Youth Services (HYS) and given to Parramatta Mission, says the service’s housing program co-ordinator George Pedersen.
Mr Pedersen said the re-allocation of funds to tackle homelessness in NSW would mean HYS would lose a staff member from its housing team, and had technically ended its housing casework support for young people aged 16-24 as of June 30.
‘‘We’re in shock,’’ Mr Pedersen said. ‘‘That’s $75,000 a year we’ve lost, which will cost us a position. We can’t afford that. We’ve got a bit of carry-over money for about a month and a half.’’
Merekia George, 23, of Blacktown, a former long-time client of both HYS and Parramatta Mission’s refuge system since the age of 14, described the decision as ‘‘harsh’’.
‘‘It’s quite sad. Yes, OK, we’re still getting the services, but as much as Parramatta Mission is great, I think that kids deserve a choice, especially if they’ve been through a rough past.’’
Labor state candidate for Granville Julia Finn joined shadow youth minister Tania Mihailuk at Merrylands youth centre on Friday to criticise what they described as a ‘‘callous decision’’.
‘‘Holroyd Youth Services is a really specific service for young people. It’s very different to the kind of support that Parramatta Mission has traditionally provided,’’ Ms Finn said.
A Department of Family and Community Services spokesman said HYS was not chosen as the ‘‘preferred provider’’ through the recent Going Home Staying Home tender process, and a new service would be established called the Parramatta Holroyd Homelessness and Housing Support Youth Service for the region’s young people at risk of being homeless.
‘‘The youth refuges operated by HYS will not close. The properties it operated are owned by the NSW government and they will neither close nor cease operation. The facilities will continue and are under transition to the preferred provider — Parramatta Mission in partnership with Western Housing for Youth Ltd,’’ Mr Pedersen said.