Community Housing Ltd (CHL) is piloting a program which identifies vulnerable households exiting the homelessness service system and places them into long term housing. The program aims to help people who have escaped homelessness to avoid being stuck in a cycle of temporary, transitional or inappropriate housing.
It will operate in NSW, Victoria and Western Australia, and will initially provide 25 properties as part of two year support program which includes support coordination, brokerage, establishment support, and higher maintenance allowances.
Tenants entering the pilot program receive a support assessment with a subsequent two year tenancy support plan put in place. Allocated funds pay for support coordination; linkages and support brokerage designed to ‘step people up’ to independent living and contribute toward the sustainability of their housing; participation in training and employment programs; and costs associated with settling into their new home.
In specific cases, the program also offers additional assistance to establish the home over and above that which can be allocated from Housing Establishment Funds.
“Twenty eight percent of our long term allocations have come from our Transitional Housing Management (THM) division so far this year,” says Brett Wake, Victorian State Manager for CHL.
“In 2011, forty-four households were referred to our long term program from our own THM services in the East and Gippsland. Other tenants also come through channels such as the public housing waiting list who have experienced homelessness and an uncertain housing outcome. We assessed that 10% of tenancies who had come from an unstable housing background into our long term program failed within the first 12 months.
“Most of our anecdotal evidence suggested that this was because of a lack of support or a breakdown in the relationship with those services. What we needed was a staged approach for people moving into long term accommodation who need flexibility and support in how they do that.”
“Historically we have linked funding programs such as the Transitional Housing Program to ‘bricks and mortar’ where we should be linking the support to the individual with flexible long term housing options,” Mr Wake says. “This approach gives us flexibility our tenants need to maximise their choice of housing and how they receive support.”
CHL is setting out to prove its belief that with the right support, all homeless individuals can successfully move into permanent housing.
“Homelessness is a symptom of the under-supply in housing, a structural problem combined with social inequality that is based on a lack of access to appropriate and affordable housing,” says Steve Bevington, CHL’s Managing Director. “We reject the idea that not all people can be housed – they can – but some people need support to be successful in making this transition.”
CHL aims to contribute to breaking the homelessness cycle by using a focus on early intervention and a holistic approach to helping individuals in crisis move to long term housing.
“Early intervention is based on not making assumptions about behaviour as the cause of homelessness. For example, we know the majority of people drop out of the rental housing system based on financial hardship, and once homeless, life becomes so challenging that it can be the cause of mental health issues,” says Mr Bevington.
Community Housing Limited is a national and international provider of affordable housing. Its mission is ‘to provide affordable and sustainable housing for all’. CHVL is a registered Housing organisation in Victoria and an approved growth provider in NSW, Tasmania, WA and SA. Its international operations are located in Timor Leste, Chile, and most recently India.
For more information on CHL, contact:
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t 03 9856 0021 m 0430 555 241