UnitingCare Ballarat's new Street to Home program is an assertive outreach model of working with people who are sleeping rough, living in substandard accommodation, have suffered recurring homelessness, or at risk of homelessness. An important aspect of the program is to advocate on behalf of clients to ensure their immediate need of accommodation is met as soon as possible. S2H also aims to establish networks with other agencies and services to provide physical and mental health support together with crisis response.
Funded by the Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) for a nine-month period, the S2H pilot program has already made an impact in its first eight weeks.
With an estimated 70 people sleeping rough at any given time in the Ballarat area, the program has - to date - connected with 27 individuals and families and is currently supporting up to 20 of those people.
One person has been supported into securing private rental, another into Social Housing, and a further two into Transitional Housing whilst waiting on long-term offers from Office of Housing. In addition, a young man who was sleeping rough in his car has been placed in temporary accommodation at Reid’s Guesthouse and linked with employment opportunities. Through S2H's wraparound support, he is now completing his second week of employment and has enrolled in pre-apprenticeship training at Federation University in 2017.
"Whilst we have enjoyed some great outcomes and successes, the struggle to gain adequate housing is a continuous and pressing issue," UnitingCare Ballarat said. "The increasing cost of private rental and lack of affordable Social Housing units in the area continue to make it difficult for homeless people to find long-term secure housing. We now look forward to delivering our Christmas packages to our ever-growing client base, especially to those few that are celebrating Christmas in their own home."
Ballarat Facebook group Don't forget we also have the Halving Homelessness: Think Tank Ballarat Facebook group. The group is a chance to share stories and ideas, start conversations, connect with other like-minded people etc.