Street to Home
The Street to Home program started in 2010 with the aim to reduce homelessness through client-centred intensive case management and working collaboratively with other agencies and services.
The program’s target groups are regular St. Pat’s clients as well as “casual contacts” who are seen on an irregular basis and given tangible, immediate assistance but no case management.
The men and women in both of these groups are rough sleepers and at serious risk of homelessness. Some clients have cycled in and out of homelessness for many years while others are new to the streets. Many have substance abuse issues, mental and physical health issues, and domestic violence/relationship issues. Most have difficulty accessing or engaging with service providers.
People can self-refer or referral can come from other sources such as hospitals, Centrelink, Department of Child Protection etc. The Street to Home program consists of Assertive Outreach Team, Housing support workers and the Mobile Clinical Outreach Team.
The Assertive Outreach Team (AOT) initiates contact with rough sleeper in parks, squats, and on the streets as well as in the drop in centre, to establish a rapport and build a working relationship with the individual. This often takes time and most individual cases start as ‘casual contacts’ and move on to become case managed clients.
Through the process of case management with the team and a collaborative approach with other services, the client is empowered to address the issues that have contributed to them becoming homeless. They are supported into a variety of housing services such as lodging houses, transitional housing etc with the aim being to secure long term stable accommodation. The client is referred to a Housing Support Worker for continued support to ensure a successful and sustained tenancy.
The Mobile Clinical Outreach Team (MCOT) is also part of the Street to Home initiative. MCOT is a clinical team that can assist with mental health and/or alcohol and drug issues. The team can work on an outreach basis and consists of Clinical Nurse Specialists and a part-time Psychiatrist. They can support clients in the interim to the client engaging with mainstream mental health services.
The Street to Home program has successfully established excellent working relationships with a number of other organisations/services including (but not limited to)-
- Aboriginal Alcohol and Drug Service (AADS). AADS outreach workers now come to St Pat’s weekly to see clients for AOD education, support and counselling. For some clients with long standing AOD issues, it is the first time they have engaged with AOD services.
- Department of Housing, DCP-several clients have been successfully housed under NPAH housing
- Fremantle Safety and Liaison Team. As another ‘grass roots level’ service they come into contact with many street present people so by liaising with them we are able to flag anyone we may have welfare concerns for, or highlight any issues that may impact the emotional wellbeing of street people or the wider community eg serious health concerns, recent bereavements or conflict particularly in Aboriginal families.
- Centrelink Community Team- This ensures a greater understanding of the barriers our clients face that can affect their capacity to meet Centrelink requirements ie appointments, Job Network participation etc. This reduces the risk of clients having their benefits cancelled
The client is a 50 year old Aboriginal female with multiple health issues, alcohol dependency, and a long history of failed tenancies due to antisocial behaviour. She was denied access to the Department of Housing (DoH) priority housing list until the client was able to provide evidence that an future tenancy would be likely to succeed. With the support of the Street to Home program the client is now having her health issues treated, has engaged with the AADS outreach worker for her alcohol issues and maintained a tenancy in a lodging house for 12 months which enable her to develop the necessary ‘good tenant’ skills. During the 12 month period, the outreach team liaised with DoH regarding the progress and changes that the client had made. All the services involved were able to provide letters of support. The client was housed by DoH under the National Partnership Agreement on Homelessness pathway. She has recently had her fixed term lease renewed.