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Media Release by Senator the Hon Kay Patterson

Homelessness prevention boosted by $1.12 million

The Minister for Family and Community Services, Senator Kay Patterson, today announced $1.12 million over 12 months in Australian Government funding for nine new demonstration projects under the National Homelessness Strategy.

“These demonstration projects are a great way to trial new and innovative ways to address homelessness ranging from helping people to deal with legal issues to finding employment or overcoming family conflict,” she said.

Senator Patterson said this new funding will bring the total number of projects funded under the Strategy to 35 with an investment of $3.3 million since 2000.

New projects being funded are:

  • Traditional Living Transitional Lifestyle Project – Adelaide Central Community Health Service ($107,500);
  • A New Approach to Assisting Young Homeless Job Seekers project – Hanover, Melbourne City Mission, Brotherhood of St Lawrence and Lodden Mallee Housing Services ($270,000);
  • Family & Community Network Initiative – Mission Australia, NSW ($250,000);
  • Wrestling Wicked Problems – A New Approach – Northside Community Service, ACT ($5,000);
  • Homeless Persons’ Legal Service – Public Interest Advocacy Centre Ltd and Public Interest Law Clearing House, NSW ($120,000);
  • Best Practice Report on Sentencing Alternatives for Homeless People – Queensland University of Technology ($3,000);
  • Uniting Families Project – Harrison Community Services, Vic ($150,000);
  • Training for First-to-Know Agencies in Rural and Remote Regions – Australian Federation of Homelessness Organisations ($100,000); and
  • Family Makeover Project – Wesley Mission, NSW ($200,000).

Senator Patterson said that two of these new projects will look at improving the manner in which services are provided to people who are homeless by delivering a range of services from the one location.

“Hanover Welfare Services in Melbourne has formed a consortium with three other community agencies to target homeless young job seekers,” Senator Patterson said.

“They recognise that the best way to help these young people and to help them in getting back to work is to provide all the services they need, including housing, health, personal development and job search skills, in the one location at the one agency. “Mission Australia is also trialling an integrated service delivery model to men based at its Campbell House facility in Sydney.

“Harrison Community Service’s project targets young people in danger of becoming homeless because of family conflict. Harrison will deliver a range of services aimed at resolving family issues and keeping the families together in the longer term.

“There are also two projects that look at the legal issues facing homeless people. Because of their itinerant lifestyles, homeless people frequently come into contact with the justice system. These projects will document the issues these people face and will identify better ways to deal with this disadvantaged group within the legal system.

“Homelessness is not just a problem in big cities. It occurs in rural and remote areas of Australia, but there are fewer specialised services to meet the needs of people vulnerable to homelessness in these areas.

“The Australian Federation of Homelessness Organisations will undertake a project aimed at raising the awareness of first-to-know agencies in rural and remote areas about homelessness.”

These include the police, Centrelink, hospitals, health centres and schools. It is important that professionals in these agencies know how to respond to people who are at risk of or are experiencing homelessness.

“The Australian Government recognises that people who are homeless are often trying to deal with a complex set of problems, not readily met by conventional assistance programs.

“This is why it is vital that we fund these types of projects which explore new ways of bringing together the services needed by homeless people.

“Early intervention measures are very important in preventing homelessness, which is why the Australian Government has provided $9.6 million over five years to the National Homelessness Strategy.”

New Demonstration Projects

Project

Development of Training Materials for Use in Rural and Remote Regions

Organisation

Australian Federation of Homelessness Organisations (AFHO)

Description

This project will implement a recommendation of the Commonwealth Advisory Committee on Homelessness (CACH.) CACH highlighted the need for training on recognising and dealing with homelessness to be made available to first-to-know agencies including hospitals, health centres and schools. AFHO will develop the materials to support this training, which will be delivered by experts from the homelessness sector in rural and remote regions around Australia. There will also be a strong Indigenous component in this project. ($100,000)

Project

A New Approach to Assisting Young Homeless Job Seekers

Organisation

Consortium of:

  • Hanover Welfare Services
  • Melbourne City Mission
  • Brotherhood of St Laurence
  • Lodden Mallee Housing Services

Description

The National Homelessness Strategy is contributing funding to the evaluation of this ground breaking project being implemented by a consortium of community agencies. The project will trial the provision of integrated support services to homeless jobseekers in relation to housing, health and personal development, with employment being the key goal. For the first time, homeless young jobseekers will be able to receive all the help they need from a single agency. The project will assist 240 jobseekers over three years. ($270,000)

Project

Traditional Living Transitional Lifestyle Project

Organisation

Adelaide Central Community Health Services

Description

Throughout Australia, traditional living Aboriginal families sometimes need to move to major urban centres, often for ongoing treatment of medical disorders. These families often need support during their transition to an urban lifestyle. To date, this project has developed a model of providing early intervention and prevention services to help these families to support their tenancies, so that they do not become homeless. This extension of the project will trial the model over a 12 month period. ($107,500)

Project

Family & Community Network Initiative

Organisation

Mission Australia

Description

Mission Australia are redeveloping their Campbell House crisis accommodation facility for single men. The clients who use this facility experience complex issues such as mental illness, substance abuse, gambling, family breakdown and poverty. The National Homelessness Strategy project will fund development and implementation of a new service delivery model for these clients aimed at providing early intervention and intensive case management. The project will also investigate and implement strategies to provide the most appropriate service to Indigenous men. ($250,000)

Project

Wrestling Wicked Problems

Organisation

Northside Community Service

Description

This community development conference will consider how government and community agencies can better integrate their service delivery to meet the needs of clients with high and complex needs, such as those dealing with mental health issues as well as problematic drug and alcohol use. This client group often needs a complex set of services delivered to them but is unable to deal with the processes involved in accessing a range of services. The conference will provide opportunities to share experiences in dealing with these clients to identify ways to better integrate services to get better outcomes for clients. ($5,000)

Project

Homeless Persons’ Legal Service

Organisation

Public Interest Advocacy Centre Ltd and Public Interest Law Clearing House

Description

This project will be undertaken through a partnership between private legal firms and community agencies. Private legal practitioners will provide targeted legal information, advice and representation to homeless people. Six law firms and five host welfare agencies have committed to participating in the pilot project. The project will be implemented using an action research model, with the service delivery model regularly reviewed and adapted over the life of the project. The project will identify the legal issues faced by homeless people and recommend how these can be resolved. ($120,000)

Project

Best Practice Report on Sentencing Alternatives for Homeless People

Organisation

Queensland University of Technology

Description

This research project will examine the ways in which jurisdictions around Australia and the world respond to the ‘offending’ behaviour of homeless people, in order to identify best practice strategies to deal with infringements of summary offences law. ($3,000)

Project

Uniting Families Project

Organisation

UnitingCare Harrison Community Services

Description

This project involves a three way partnership, with the National Homelessness Strategy funding the operational costs, the Baker Foundation (associated with Kodak Australasia) funding the action research and Harrison providing the professional expertise. The project aims to reduce youth homelessness by stabilising young people within their families. Immediate support will be offered to families in crisis. Families will be offered mediation in their own homes, parenting courses and family therapy. Community-based short term respite care is available in a group home, when needed. ($150,000)

Project

Family Makeover Project

Organisation

Wesley Mission

Description

This project will work with families at risk of homelessness and will assist them to develop independent living skills. Families will be provided with accommodation in a community housing setting. Each family will be supplied with a computer and Internet access to help them develop computer and literacy skills. Wesley Mission will provide welfare services, while its specialist teams will provide medical and psychiatric, counselling and family support services. ($200,000)