The NSW Department of Communities and Justice has funded a new innovative model for refuges referred to as a ‘Core and Cluster’ model. This reform supports refuges to transition from shared house environments towards independent living units.
Since early this year, Shelter NSW has been supporting member organisations that have received Core & Cluster funding but have struggled to understand the planning approval process. We have also been working in collaboration with the three peaks – Homelessness NSW, DV NSW and the Aboriginal Community Housing Association – on the development and delivery of training and support packages.
Shelter has been focused on the planning and land use-related components of this model. We recently contributed to running training targeted at Aboriginal, regional and metropolitan organisations to help them better understand the planning system – walking participants through the planning approval process. We also provided a case study that involved the re-development of a metropolitan women’s refuge that was transitioning from the current refuge model to a Core and Cluster model. This work has supported capacity building for the refuge sector and has also been a constructive collaboration between the different peak housing organisations.