Lismore City Council will be reassessing its homelessness strategy in 2020.
Lismore City Council will be reassessing its homelessness strategy in 2020.

Could council have a plan to solve homelessness?

LISMORE City Council is planning on finding ways to reduce the rate of homelessness next year.

Councillor Vanessa Ekins, on behalf of Cr Elly Bird who was absent from Tuesday's council meeting, asked the staff to investigate funding options to create an integrated strategy that "takes a holistic approach to homelessness, housing and wrap around service delivery".

Cr Ekins said the number of homeless people in the Lismore LGA was "a really wicked problem" and something needed to be done.

"I know we have over 200 people sleeping rough in our community every night," she said.

"This motion is about starting to address it.

"This is about getting agencies together to investigate options and is about starting a conversation.

"This is a good start, working with those agencies to investigate funding options and other housing options.

"I don't want another decade to go by where we haven't taken any action on homelessness at all."

Council documents reveal nationally the rate of homelessness increased by 4.6 per cent between the 2011 and 2016 census periods.

"Lismore however, there was an increase of 8.4 per cent during the same time," the council papers state.

"In fact, the rate of homelessness is increasing at a faster rate than population growth in the Lismore local government area."

The council's director of planning, Dr Sharon Harwood, indicated to the council on Tuesday a federal initiative to count the number homelessness is scheduled for the Lismore LGA "in either January or February".

But Cr Nancy Casson said the council had no responsibility in managing the homeless and was a waste of money.

"Council's only responsibility to homelessness is managing their behaviour in public spaces and that's it," she said.

"That is not our jurisdiction as a council, that is state and federal, not us.

"We've been talking about increasing rates … and here we are two weeks later looking to address the homeless."

However, any plans to further investigate a homelessness strategy have been put on hold after it was discovered Cr Bird's notice of motion had failed to identify a funding source before coming to the council.

The matter is expected to return to the council in early 2020.



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