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Chris Burns (The Southern Cross)

The Hutt St Centre has served as a refuge for South Australians experiencing homelessness for 70 years but never has it been as busy as this summer. Source: The Southern Cross.

The increased demand for assistance peaked on January 9, a day that Hutt St Centre chief executive Chris Burns described as “unprecedented”.

“We had 187 clients walk through our doors on that day seeking assistance – shelter, food, clothing, a place to shower, and even things like money for fuel or to get the car serviced,” Mr Burns said The Southern Cross.

“I have never seen anything like that before. On the same day last year, we served about 157 clients. That’s close to a 20 per cent increase in the number of people who need urgent assistance. The rising living costs and rental crisis are to blame.”

Referring to “chronic and persistent homelessness”, Mr Burns said Hutt St Centre’s seven-year Aspire program had demonstrated significant success. Over the first six years of the program, 81 per cent of participants have been provided with housing, with 86 per cent of those maintaining their tenancies.

Hutt St Centre is seeking $15 million in additional state Government funding for Aspire to allow it to enrol 600 people over the next seven years following the end of the program in June. Without additional funding, the future of Aspire is unclear.

Mr Burns said the goal of every volunteer, caseworker, social worker and member of Hutt St Centre was to take each person walking through their doors from a state of homelessness to “homefullness”.

Emphasising Aspire’s effectiveness in making this transformative journey possible, Mr Burns said a house was not a home until the person who lives in it calls it home.


Funding needed for ‘chronic’ homelessness: Hutt St Centre (By Christina Francis, The Southern Cross)