Media Release by The Hon Tanya Pibersek MP

Minister visits HOME Advice Program service

The Australian Government’s long term commitment to tackling homelessness was highlighted during a visit to Melbourne’s outer south-east today.

The Minister for Housing and the , Tanya Plibersek, visited the Household Organisation Management Expenses (HOME) Advice Program at Hanover Welfare Services in Dandenong.

The Minister met with program staff and families who have been assisted by the program, providing added insight into the pressures faced by families at risk of becoming homeless.

The visit also allowed a valuable first hand look at how the HOME Advice Program gives practical assistance to families in need.

“The Australian Government is committed to addressing homelessness and will issue a White Paper providing a long term plan of action in August or September this year,” Ms Plibersek said.

“The HOME Advice Program uses early intervention to assist families who are at risk of becoming homeless, by attempting to stabilise accommodation and build capacity and resilience in families.”

A recent independent evaluation by Swinburne University found the HOME Advice Program delivered strong results for families at risk of homelessness.

The June 2007 evaluation found 2190 families have accessed the HOME Advice Program nationally for support to prevent homelessness since 2002, with 92 per cent of families avoiding homelessness and 93 per cent of families improving their debt situation.

Member for Isaacs, Mark Dreyfus, said the program was of great benefit to the local community.

“The Family Focus program has done a great job for our community by assisting struggling families,” Mr Dreyfus said.

“Over the last four years, Family Focus has helped over 150 local families at risk of homelessness.
This program provides long term intensive support by designing individual plans for each family.

“Housing stress and rising rents mean that many local families have been struggling to make ends meet.

“Family Focus provides a way for those families who may be in danger of homelessness to be identified before a housing problem becomes a housing crisis.

“Family Focus understands the multicultural nature of our local area and the specific needs that arise in each community.”