Media Release by Senator the Hon Kay Patterson

Loddon Mallee Housing to trial innovative approach to young homeless jobseekers

The Minister for Family and Community Services, Senator Kay Patterson, today visited the Loddon Mallee Housing Services, which is part of a consortium recently awarded $270,000 for a project aimed at improving services for young homeless jobseekers.

Senator Patterson said the trial would test new and innovative ways to address homelessness and for the first time homeless young jobseekers in Bendigo would be able to receive help from a single agency rather than having to negotiate a range of different agencies delivering various types of services.

“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. It is projects like this, funded under the National Homelessness Strategy, which can make the difference,” Senator Patterson said.

“Loddon Mallee Housing Services are part of a consortium of four community agencies, including Hanover Welfare, Melbourne City Mission and the Brotherhood of St Laurence.

“The consortium’s project will trial the provision of integrated support services to young homeless jobseekers, covering housing, health and personal development, with employment being the key goal.

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

“A critical part of the trial will be the development of links with employers and the local government to create opportunities for young homeless jobseekers.”

Senator Patterson said Loddon Mallee Housing Services received $617,000 each year to provide homelessness and crisis housing services to 600 families and single people under the Supported Accommodation Assistance Program – an initiative jointly funded by the Australian Government and the Victorian Government.

“Loddon Mallee Housing also supports the local community through the Australian Government’s Emergency Relief Program which funds up to $41,000 annually in emergency financial assistance to individuals and families.

“The Australian Government considers early intervention measures as a key to preventing homelessness, which is why it has provided $9.6 million nationally over five years under the National Homelessness Strategy,” Senator Patterson said.