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Michelle Lensink MLC

In a massive coup, leading homelessness expert Ian Cox has been appointed to a new role to drive reforms to improve homelessness services in South Australia.

Mr Cox, who has been the driving force behind the Hutt Street Centre for more than 16 years and has worked in the homelessness sector for more than 25 years, will bring vital skills and experience in innovative practice in the homelessness sector to his new role as Head of Homelessness Sector Integration.

Mr Cox will oversee the establishment of a new Office of Homelessness Sector Integration, which will work closely with the non-government sector to implement homelessness reforms.

He will play a significant role in driving the homelessness reforms that are identified in the Government’s new strategy, set to be released later this year.

He will begin a three year appointment on 21 October.

During his time with the Hutt Street Centre, Mr Cox played a key role in establishing and running the Adelaide Zero Project, bringing the innovative functional zero approach to ending homelessness to Adelaide, and was instrumental in bringing world-renowned expert Dame Louise Casey from the Institute for Global Homelessness to South Australia.

He also led the Aspire Project, the first program in South Australia to be funded by a social impact bond, which focuses on a ‘housing first’ intervention model that gives participants stable accommodation as well as access to education and training to help them get a job and maintain employment. Now in its second year of operation, the program has seen 297 participants enrolled.

Minister for Human Services Michelle Lensink welcomed Mr Cox’s appointment.

“Ian Cox is very highly respected in the homelessness sector and he will bring valuable experience and insight to help drive homelessness reform in South Australia,” said Minister Lensink.

“This is massive coup for the Government, as Ian’s broad skills and wealth of experience working in the housing and homelessness sector mean he will be able to make a real difference towards Adelaide’s goal of functional zero homelessness in South Australia.

“It is absolutely critical that South Australia has an effective homelessness system that provides the best services possible to those who are homeless or at risk of homelessness.

“In his role, Ian will set up and lead our new Office for Homelessness Sector Integration, while playing a integral role in driving the homelessness reforms that arise from our new Housing and Homelessness Strategy to be launched later this year.

“He will work with government agencies and services across the state to transform the current service model, including how we assist people to transition to affordable housing, how we provide emergency accommodation and how we help rough sleepers.

“Substantial reform in the homelessness sector has not happened for about 10 years, and it is clear that we need a partnership-based approach that looks at the homelessness system as a whole, aiming to address gaps and barriers within the system.

“We are facing a range of complex housing challenges in South Australia and we cannot continue with business as usual – it is time to hit the reset button.

“Our new strategy will map out a 10 year plan to improve outcomes across the entire housing continuum, including crisis homelessness services, social housing, affordable housing and the general housing market.

“We all want to achieve a homelessness program for South Australia that is delivered collaboratively, efficiently and effectively, and Ian will be an integral part of realising that.

“I congratulate Ian on his appointment and look forward to working with him in achieving the Government’s lofty ambition.”