Media Release by Senator the Hon Nigel Scullion

Home is where the help is

Up to 2190 at-risk Australian families have avoided homelessness after they were helped by an Australian Government program that assists people resolve personal and financial issues before they end up on the streets.

Minister for Community Services, Senator Nigel Scullion launched the independent evaluation of the Household Organisational Management Expenses (HOME) Advice Program today saying he was thrilled with the outstanding results it had achieved.

‘Ninety-two per cent of families involved in the program have avoided homelessness and either remained in their homes or improved their housing situation,’ Senator Scullion said.

‘The majority of families, 93 per cent, had their immediate financial crises resolved.

‘Through the program almost all families, 97 per cent, have improved their debt situation, with 66 per cent reducing or totally wiping their debt and 31 per cent stabilising their debt.

‘The HOME Advice Program helps families who are at risk of losing their house or tenancy due to personal issues or financial circumstances by helping them access family counselling, find employment, develop budgeting skills, access training and education, access legal advice and resolve tenancy issues.

‘The launch of the report coincided with the start of National Homeless Persons Week.

‘These positive outcomes are not just a ‘flash in the pan’. These families were on the brink on homelessness and have managed to sustain the changes needed to create long term stability.

‘Results from the follow up survey showed that the majority of people maintained their housing in the six to 12 months after receiving support.

‘One of the best parts of my job is to release evaluations of these kinds of programs, proven programs that really help those people who need assistance,’ Senator Scullion said.

The HOME Advice Program is run through a partnership between Department of Families, Community Services and Indigenous Affairs, Centrelink and community agencies in eight locations throughout Australia.