Measures to protect rough sleepers in the Riverland amid rising river levels
The State Government is working with local organisations to provide support for rough sleepers camping along the River Murray in the Riverland amid rising water levels.
Housing SA met with key homelessness non-government organisations, local councils, SAPOL and emergency services in Berri today to consider options to provide crisis accommodation and other services.
The meeting was held at the Berri Town Hall this morning.
Housing SA funds Life Without Barriers (Riverland Homelessness Assertive Outreach Program) and Anglican Community Care (Riverland Generic Homelessness Service) to provide support to homeless people in the region, including rough sleepers.
Recent high rainfall has significantly increased flows in the River Murray, which is likely to cause flooding between Cadell and Mannum. Local homelessness service providers have identified rough sleepers camping in this area who may be affected.
Life Without Barriers provides assertive outreach and intensive case management support to rough sleepers, and has many clients living in tents along the riverbank. The program also provides access to laundry, bathroom and cooking facilities at its centre in Berri; assistance in accessing emergency and supported accommodation, health and community services; crisis intervention and ongoing support.
It operates seven days a week, with a particular focus on Loxton, Waikerie, Berri, Barmera, Renmark and Paringa.
Anglican Community Care (ACC), through the Riverland Generic Homelessness Service, provides support to people experiencing homelessness across Murray Bridge, the Limestone Coast and the Riverland. ACC provides intake and assessment and crisis support, assisting with such things as motel accommodation, bus tickets and food.
Minister for Communities and Social Inclusion, Zoe Bettison said:
With higher water levels expected along the River Murray, it is important that we have support in place for rough sleepers camping along the river.
The participation of the local non-government organisations, councils, emergency services and police is the key to the success of this type of response.
During the extreme weather we experienced in September, local homelessness services provided additional support to people sleeping rough in the Riverland. That included more outreach visits, welfare checks and the provision of water and food.