Empowering Homeless Tasmanians Mon 6 August 2012 Cassy O'Connor Minister for Human Services Download hi-res version Tasmanians experiencing or at risk of homelessness can expect to be treated with the same dignity and respect as all citizens the Minister for Human Services, Cassy O'Connor said today. Launching the State Government's new Homelessness Charter, Ms O'Connor said it was important as a society to realise that Tasmania's most vulnerable citizens all deserved to be treated with respect and kindness. "The charter underlines the fact that homeless people may not have a permanent home for a period of time, but in all other respects, they are just as worthy, deserving and important members of our community," Ms O'Connor said. "The charter is being launched as part of Homeless Person's Week and sets out the following rights: 1. To be treated with dignity and respect; 2. To be treated fairly; 3. To privacy and confidentiality; 4. To a reasonable standard of health and wellbeing; 5. To information you need to make your own choices; 6. To be treated without discrimination; 7. To be part of our community; "This year's theme is 'HOMING IN on the real issues of homelessness' and focuses on understanding why people from all walks of life can find themselves homeless. "It's very important we understand that homelessness is caused by factors that can affect anyone of us; a relationship breakdown, financial problems, lack of affordable housing or getting sick. Ms O'Connor said by the end of 2010 the Government had already exceeded its target of halving the number of Tasmanians sleeping rough by providing over 193 homes for people who were homeless. "By the end of June 2012 the State and Australian Government had funded more than 1,400 new homes for Tasmanians. "We have also established five supported accommodation facilities for people who need a home." The Tasmanian Government commits over $15 million to more than 20 community sector organisations to provide specialist homelessness services each year. Ms O'Connor said that new services had also been implemented such as high needs support delivered through the Keys to the future and STAY programs. "We also intend to improve how Tasmanians access help by making changes to our support and assistance services over the coming year," Ms O'Connor said. "Tackling homelessness will remain a government priority because it has no place in a fair and just state like Tasmania." Homeless Person's Week is an awareness week held between 6 - 12 August 2012.