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Public hearing 26: Homelessness, including experience in boarding houses, hostels and other arrangements

The Royal Commission held Public hearing 26 from 29 August to 2 September 2022.

This Public hearing was held from 29 August to 2 September 2022 (Public hearing 26) at the Park Royal Hotel, 30 Phillip St, Parramatta.

This hearing was conducted by the Honourable Ronald Sackville AO QC (Chair), Dr Rhonda Galbally AC and the Honourable John Ryan AM. The hearing was open to the public and was livestreamed on our website.

This hearing focused on people with disability who have experienced homelessness, including living in boarding houses and other forms of insecure or inadequate housing. 

In the first part of the hearing, the Royal Commission heard from people with disability in New South Wales about: 

  • their experiences of homelessness, including rough sleeping and couch surfing

  • living in boarding houses or other types of insecure accommodation 

  • pathways leading to and out of homelessness 

  • barriers to finding, securing and retaining safe and accessible housing

  • their experiences with specialist homelessness services and other wrap-around support services

  • the importance of safe, secure and accessible housing and how it enables inclusion

  • access to emergency accommodation and support services following a natural disaster. 

Representatives of the Australian and NSW Governments were asked about how housing and homelessness policies and programs address the needs of people with disability. Representatives of the National Disability Insurance Agency were asked about the agency’s policies and practices with respect to participants experiencing or at risk of homelessness.

The second part of this hearing examined Supported Residential Services (SRSs) in Victoria. SRSs are privately operated businesses that are licensed to provide accommodation and support for people living in Victoria, many of whom have a disability and require assistance with everyday activities. The Royal Commission heard from residents of SRSs and their families and the proprietor of an SRS. Representatives of the Australian and Victorian Governments and the National Disability Insurance Scheme Quality and Safeguards Commission also gave evidence about the SRS sector generally and the relevant regulatory frameworks.

Anyone who believes they have a direct and substantial interest in the subject matter of this hearing, as outlined in Practice Guideline 6, is able to make an application for leave to appear by 4:00pm on Friday, 12 August 2022.