VERTO Chief Executive Officer, Ron Maxwell, today stated VERTO’s support for Homeless Persons’ Week which runs from Monday, 4 August to Sunday, 10 August 2014.
Mr Maxwell acknowledged the importance of recognising homelessness as a significant social issue that negatively impacts on quality of life for victims, and places additional pressure on the economy.
"It is estimated that over 28,000 people are currently homeless in New South Wales,” Mr Maxwell said.
“This is more people than any other state in Australia.
"Of great concern is the fact that Aboriginal people and Torres Strait Islanders are overrepresented in Australia’s homeless population, making up approximately 2.5 per cent of the overall population, but 25 per cent of the homeless population.
“VERTO’s South West Tenants’ Advice Service team works hard to resolve tenancy disputes for disadvantaged cohorts, therefore helping to reduce the rate of homelessness in regional New South Wales,” Mr Maxwell said.
Mr Maxwell said VERTO’s free tenancy advice service is available to all residential tenants living in and around Albury, Bathurst, Goulburn, Orange and Wagga Wagga.
VERTO also provides an outreach service to cover all residential tenancies in south west New South Wales.
“During the 2013 -2014 financial year, the team provided advice to 3236 tenants, attended 350 tribunals in a duty advocacy capacity, and represented 793 tenants at the New South Wales Civil and Administrative Tribunal.
“Over the six month period of January to June 2014, the team made 615 referrals to other community support services, negotiated an outcome for 103 tenants without the requirement to attend the New South Wales Civil and Administrative Tribunal and saved 73 tenancies from termination,” Mr Maxwell said.
Mr Maxwell said that the work of the South West Tenants’ Advice Service was an important offering that helped to prevent many New South Wales families from becoming homeless.
“Early intervention from our tenancy advice and advocacy team has saved a significant number of disputes going to the New South Wales Civil and Administrative Tribunal.
“This helps to reach a mutually agreeable outcome for the landlord and tenant earlier on in the process, in a cost effective way for both parties.
“It also assists to reduce Government administrative costs but more importantly, it helps to keep disadvantaged people in affordable housing which is becoming increasingly rare in regional areas,” Mr Maxwell said.
Mr Maxwell said VERTO looked forward to continuing to assist tenants across New South Wales to retain their residencies in cases where they were being dismissed unfairly.
The South West Tenants’ Advice Service is funded by the New South Wales Department of Fair Trading, which uses monies from the Rental Bond Board and Property Services statutory interest accounts.