MS LAWDER (Brindabella) (5.44pm): Acknowledging once again that this is national Homeless Persons Week, I would like to bring to the Assembly's attention Canberra Homeless Connect, which took place today. I attended, along with Minister Rattenbury. I would like to acknowledge the people and organisations which support this valuable initiative.
This was the second annual Homeless Connect in Canberra, and I would like to make special mention of the wonderful Chris Stokman of the early morning centre at Pilgrim House, on Northbourne Avenue. Chris has pulled this event together for the second year in a row. It is an enormous effort and a great achievement for it to be as successful as it is. Of course, Chris does not do it alone. May I also congratulate the other organisers, and the many volunteers on the day.
Canberra Homeless Connect is a one-day community initiative that brings together people who are experiencing or at risk of homelessness with the services and support they need in one place on one day. It started off in San Francisco back in 2004, and it now operates in cities all over the world.
On one day a year many and varied services get together to assist those who are in need of their support. Whether it is housing, health care, legal services, dentistry, clothing, underwear and footwear, hairdressers or vets, there are countless goods and services which are provided for these vulnerable people on this one day in one location at no charge.
Today at Canberra Homeless Connect I would like to acknowledge the following organisations for the support they have given to this initiative and for being involved: St Vincent de Paul, Red Cross, Cataldo's, Mercy Association, Shoes for Planet Earth, Argyle Housing, FirstPoint, Citizens Advice Bureau, the Smith Family, ACT Hepatitis Resource Centre, MAX Employment, Ted Noffs Foundation, the Department of Human Services—including Centrelink and Australian Hearing, Communities@Work, Street Law, PILCH legal services, Uniting Church Canberra City and the early morning centre, as well as many other organisations who pulled the event together.
The event was a great success. The only downside to it all is that it demonstrates just how many people in Canberra need that help. I would like to thank all those who came to a reception here at the Assembly on Tuesday night and donated new, unused underwear for us to contribute to Canberra Homeless Connect, as well as Pioneer Training, Homelessness Australia and Greenhills Conference Centre for their donation of new, unused underwear.
I would like to encourage you all here to keep your eyes open for this event next year and do whatever you can to be involved and to help spread the message of this invaluable initiative.