Authors: ComCare Charitable Trust (NZ)
Event: 2006 TheMHS Awards
Type of resource: TheMHS Awards
Award state: NZ
Award level: Finalist
Award category: Specialist Service or Part of a Larger Service
Abstract: ComCare has been providing housing services in Christchurch to people who experience mental illness for over 15 years. Since 1995 the ComCare Housing Solutions service has expanded considerably, developing a diverse range of housing assistance initiatives, and currently provides housing assistance to 228 people. ComCare works with and for people who experience mental illness, particularly focusing on practical initiatives for hose whose lives have been most severely affected by their illness. Our housing services are based on the recovery model of care. Our service emphasises: Choice; Autonomy; Community Integration; Tenancy rights and responsibilities; Response to individual need (one size does not fit all); The right to good quality, affordable housing. There is a well-established link between poor housing/homelessness and mental illness. Our service continually searches for innovative ways to increase the availability of good quality housing to this group. Housing Facilitation, special projects with HNZ, emergency options and the ability to increase housing stock through limited head tenancies are some examples, as are self- help options such as Flatmate Finders and educational resources. Consumer input and participation are crucial to the development of quality housing services for people with mental illness. ComCare has a Consumer Advisor who works at a management level on all aspects of ComCare services and also coordinates our service advisor group, consisting of a number of service users. All clients housed by our service are given the opportunity for feedback through evaluation forms, and we have a regular Tenant Participation Forum coordinated by our Consumer Advisor. We are a small team of 4 dedicated workers who are motivated by the belief that the service we provide makes a difference to a few and an example to many. Description of Facility/Organisation: ComCare Trust is a Canterbury based mental health organisation providing services to around 500 people at any time, with housing, community support, recreational and employment assistance. ComCare employs 38 people to deliver services primarily funded by the Canterbury District Health Board and the Ministry of Social Development.