Authors: Surry Hills Public Tenants Association
Event: 2010 TheMHS Awards
Type of resource: TheMHS Awards
Award state: NSW
Award level: Special Judges Award
Award category: Mental Health Promotion or Mental Illness Prevention Program or Project
Abstract: The Surry Hills Public Tenants Association (SHPTA) represents the 1300 public housing tenants living in Surry Hills, most notably the residence of the Northcott High Rise. The tenants in Northcott are of low socio-economic means, many with mental health and/or drug and alcohol issues. In 2005, the members of SHPTA saw a need for services, which not only helped those directly affected by mental health illness, but for those who were their neighbours, friends, family and carers. And so the Mental Health Recovery Working Party was formed. SHPTA invited tenants and representatives from different service and government agencies to sit together and come up with a holistic approach to dealing with the mental health of the community. The need for education, awareness and mental health first aid was deemed a priority The group have met monthly since 2005 and has grown to include representatives from Housing NSW, St Vincents Mental Health team, St Vincents Community Health team, City of Sydney, Personal Helpers and Mentors (PHaMS), Neami, Mercy Arms, Inner Sydney Regional Council and obviously SHPTA. Description of Facility/Organisation: The Surry Hills Public Tenants Association (SHPTA) was created at a time when the Northcott community was traumatised after a number of murders and suicides. It was a community which had disengaged from itself. There was much social isolation and fear amongst the tenants. SHPTA is an unincorporated organisation which services all Public Housing Tenants in Surry Hills, approx 1300 people, the highest density of public housing in Australia. The organisation is totally volunteer run, with the Management Committee made up of 12 tenants. SHPTA works out of the Northcott Community Centre. Due to the nature of public housing we have a larger than normal number of tenants experiencing mental health issues. SHPTA is committed to making a difference to social outcomes. We are committed to achieving this with fairness and integrity for all tenants. We aim to make our actions socially, economically and environmentally sustainable.