South Australia is hosting its first State Homelessness Conference, which concludes today at the Mineral Foundation, Glenside.
   Ms Dorothy Belperio, Manager of Youth Services with Centacare Adelaide, and Conference Convenor, stated that "This State Homelessness Conference is an important opportunity for local and interstate agencies to gather together and consider issues regarding homelessness in Australia, particularly in South Australia, in the 21st Century".
   "Homelessness is not just about images of 'street kids' - people who are homeless come from a variety of backgrounds and range from babies and children to the frail aged. Services for people who are homeless need to span over different life stages and development, and must include responses to issues of violence, abuse, family breakdown, mental health and substance abuse".
   In the last year, more than 9000 people were assisted by homeless agencies in South Australia. This figure doesn't include the hidden homeless, people who don't access services or who don't identify as homeless.
   "Homelessness is a complex issue, requiring a range of responses, including housing, financial assistance, health care, social support and counselling. No single solution will fix homelessness - it's about agencies working together for change."
   Over 350 people are attending the Conference, from a range of agencies including government services, non-government services, welfare and health services, local councils and community agencies.
   - Cath Comm (Adelaide)


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