Member for Gosford Ms Liesl Tesch said she had been conducting her own investigation into homelessness.
“With the help of Coast Shelter I am requesting an acknowledgement of the resources we have as well as that additional resources are needed,” Ms Tesch said. She commended Central Coast Council for resolving to ask for additional resources from the NSW Government. “I have been interacting with these homeless people since I got the job as Member for Gosford in 2017 and their needs are complex so let’s see what Pru Goward’s numbers actually manifest for our community,” Ms Tesch said.
She said she personally knew of two people living a known homeless camp on Woy Woy waterfront who had passed away. “The first gentleman to die whose name was Mark was almost like an overseer of the community and the loss of Mark was symbolic for the community,” she said. “I know we have got some people who have been moved out of Sydney’s Martin Place that have moved into our community,” Ms Tesch said, referring to the homeless camp that was cleared out of Martin Place in 2017. “The community has been letting me know how concerned it is and we have had the police move people out of a site behind businesses in Woy Woy.
“To the credit of the homeless people. they are trying to be the least intrusive they can be to the community and the businesses. “I recently attended a homeless interagency meeting and there were 40 people doing their utmost to address the problem and they had a great understanding of how close to homeless a whole lot of other people are. “Those who are close to homeless include youths couch surfing and elderly who, once one goes into aged care, the circumstance s to get support are so tenuous they don’t know who to reach out to.
“I want to tell those people who are fearful of becoming homeless, ‘don’t hesitate to make a call to a local organisation to find out what your rights are and what the support structures are if you feel like you are getting close’,” Ms Tesch said. “I have also got a meeting with the police next week. “There is a fine line between police and council responsibility but there is a necessity to build a workforce of outreach people and to build places because the wait lists for public housing is blowing out,” she said. According to Ms Tesch, the Pacific Link-operated affordable housing in Oval Ave was a success story but only had 30 places when the need was much greater. “At the same time the State Government has sold off 4200 public homes and some of those are in the Gosford electorate but they won’t tell me how many,” Ms Tesch said. “There really is a need for a huge push to make change. “These people have complex mental health needs and financial and other trauma to end up in these spaces. “It breaks my heart,” she said.
SOURCE: Interview, 13 Jun 2018 Liesl Tesch, Member for Gosford Reporter: Jackie Pearson