Today I was joined by CatholicCare and St Vincent de Paul to announce a new partnership that will deliver a Housing First program to help end chronic homelessness.
“Having a home is fundamental to so many parts of life. Without that security it can be nearly impossible to improve your health or find and keep a job,” Minister for Housing and Suburban Development, Yvette Berry said.
“A Housing First approach will help people in our community experiencing chronic homelessness, requiring urgent assistance and unable to sustain a tenancy on their own.
“Right now, this combination of complex issues means that this group of people are cycling through crisis services or remaining homeless for long periods of time, unable to break the cycle of homelessness,” Minister Berry said.
Responding to recommendations in the 2018 Study in the Long-Term Support Needs of Clients with High and Complex Needs, this program will support 20 individuals sleeping rough in the ACT into permanent housing, with flexible and individual assistance for as long as needed.
Housing First also differs from traditional models as it is offered without preconditions such as employment, no criminal history and sobriety.
This approach has been shown in the United States to be effective in helping people experiencing homelessness to find accommodation and maintain their tenancy.
Evidence also suggests that Housing First recipients are homeless for shorter periods of time than those assisted with emergency accommodation and transitional housing.
From its application in the US, the model is also reported to be a less expensive intervention than emergency accommodation and transitional housing.
Quotes attributable to Anne Kirwan, CatholicCare:
“CatholicCare are very excited to be partnering with St Vincent de Paul and Housing ACT to deliver Axial Housing, a Housing First pilot in Canberra.
This pilot will see two specialist homelessness services, Street to Home and ASSIST work in partnership to support 20 people who are sleeping rough to transition into permanent housing, with long term wrap around supports in place. It is a great opportunity for community partners to come together and use their resources and expertise to trial a Housing First pilot in Canberra.
The 2018 cohort study undertaken by the ACT Government highlighted that our stepped model of homelessness services did not work for people with high and complex needs, who were unable to navigate the system to move into and sustain long term housing.
To support this vulnerable group, we need to deliver our services differently. This partnership, where we provide the wrap around services and Housing ACT provide the properties, will enable us to successfully assist people with high and complex needs to move into long term housing, with the necessary support systems already in place.
Axial Housing is a wonderful opportunity to test whether this Housing First approach to homelessness will work in Canberra, and measure the impact of such an approach on both participants and the related sectors and systems that interact with this vulnerable group”
Photo L-R: Lisa Higginson, Deputy CEO CatholicCare; Yvette Berry, Minister for Housing and Suburban Development; Anne Kirwan, CEO CatholicCare; Patrick McKenna, St Vincent de Paul; Louise Gilding, Executive Group Manager Housing ACT.
- Statement ends -
Section: Yvette Berry, MLA | Media Releases
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