Authors: B Miles Women’s Foundation St Vincent’s Mental Health Service
Event: 2010 TheMHS Awards
Type of resource: TheMHS Awards
Award state: NSW
Award level: Finalist
Award category: Non Government Organisation (NGO) Provided Services
Abstract: City Women’s Hostel (CWH) is a non-government organisation that provides crisis accommodation to women who are living with a mental illness and are homeless, or at risk of homelessness. Formerly, CWH’s relationship with the local mental health Service (St Vincent’s mental Health Service SVMHS) was strained and service provision to mutual clients from both services was poor. It was identified that agency collaboration was necessary and that this would facilitate a recovery focussed approach. It would also ensure that homeless women received equable access to quality mental health treatment and support services. A formal partnership was developed between CWH and SVMHS in 2005 and a Service Agreement was developed. The service agreement outlined the mutual responsibilities of both services. In 2009, an evaluation of this partnership showed significant improvements in outcomes for shared clients. The change of focus to recovery orientated, co-ordinated care has reduced the need for acute mental health interventions. Description of Facility/Organisation: City Women's Hostel (CWH) is a non-government organisation that was established in 1989. Situated in Darlinghurst, CWH provides crisis accommodation to women who are living with a mental illness and are homeless, or at risk of homelessness. Referrals come from all over NSW, the majority from inpatient mental health units. The hostel is a community based organisation funded by the Supported Accommodation and Assistance Program with an annual budget of $582,464. The service employs 12 staff. CWH provides supported accommodation 24 hrs 7 days a week. A team of qualified and experienced Case Managers are employed to work with residents on individual support plans- the main focus being on recovery and housing. The hostel accommodates six women at any one time. Additionally, CWH provides pre-crisis and post-crisis support to clients on either side of their stay. The number of active clients at any one time is usually around 10.