Authors: Karen De Mar, Melanie Siddall, Stephen Suttie, Madeleine Prince, Kellie Evans, Vivienne Schwab, Olivia Troughton
Event: 2022 TheMHS Conference
Subject: housing, homelessness, workforce
Type of resource: Conference Presentations and Papers
Abstract: PANEL PRESENTATION: Evaluation of NSW Mental Health Programs: Community Living Supports and Housing and Accommodation Support Initiative
Karen De Mar, Melanie Siddall
The NSW Mental Health Community Living Programs have evolved over nearly two decades to help people with severe mental illness live and participate in the community. This includes the Housing and Accommodation Support Initiative (HASI) and Community Living Supports (CLS) programs, which offer tailored psychosocial supports based on a person’s own, unique recovery goals.
HASI and CLS are state-wide programs funded by the NSW Government and delivered through close partnerships between local health district (LHD) clinical mental health services and specialist Community Managed Organisations (CMOs).
A 2012 evaluation found the HASI program to be very effective. More recently, the Social Policy Research Centre at the University of New South Wales was contracted to evaluate the HASI and CLS programs from 2017 to 2020. Results show that both programs generally work well and deliver positive outcomes. Important success factors include the strong local partnerships between CMOs and LHDs and the tailored, flexible approach to service provision.
The programs appear to achieve their goals, with evidence of improved mental health and wellbeing amongst participants, alongside other indicators including improved physical health, greater sense of inclusion within the community and reduced incidence of hospitalisations and criminal offences.
PANEL PRESENTATION: Housing NOW or Housing First: Making a system work when there is no housing
Stephen Suttie, Madeleine Prince
Housing NOW or Housing First: Making a system work when there is no housing for a housing first approach While there is strong evidence for housing first approaches, a system without housing can leave people without options, homeless, and with deteriorating mental and physical health. STEPLink, an approach initiated through the Covid-19 pandemic to rapidly house people has provided food for thought. Perhaps rapid housing with support, even if not permanent, is a valuable system response that can lead to long term housing outcomes. STEPLink accesses a range of housing solutions (from temporary, transitional, social/public housing and private rental) with a focus on rapid housing that is accompanied by wraparound support commensurate to the persons need and capability. Previously homeless people can build trusting relationships with support teams, with time to unpack and begin to problem solve the myriad issues that contribute to their homelessness. The housing stability, if only temporary, provides a foundation of safety for change, enabling longer term solutions to be jointly developed. This presentation will describe the program and use some scenarios to demonstrate how housing now creates longer term options. It will illuminate the range of support needs experienced by people eligible and how tailoring of supports delivers housing, mental health, physical health and social outcomes.
PANEL PRESENTATION: Re-imagining the mental health and homelessness workforce for tomorrow
Over 10 years ago, Wellways Australia designed and delivered a Housing First program specifically targeting people experiencing mental ill health and homelessness: Doorway. A fundamental component of this program is integrating into one role, housing and tenancy support and mental health recovery, typically, two service systems that are not only complex to navigate but more importantly have not been designed with an obvious interface in mind.
10 years on, evaluations have demonstrated the Housing and Recovery Worker role as key in producing sustainable outcomes for people. This presentation will discuss how this role develops partnerships across the sectors and builds capacity to support early intervention, allowing people to sustain their home and mental well-being beyond the life of a program.
A key focus of this presentation is to hear from a person who has been supported through Doorway. They will spend time reflecting on their experience of the housing and recovery worker role, what this has meant to them and how it has influenced their recovery journey.
Designing roles that embed this level of service integration, actively breaks down barriers and creates sustainable outcomes for people experiencing mental ill health and homelessness.
PANEL PRESENTATION: Family violence, homelessness and mental health: Partnering to address intersecting needs in a PARC setting
Vivienne Schwab, Olivia Troughton
People who experience the intersection between family violence and mental health are a uniquely vulnerable group who frequently experience barriers to accessing support.
With an increasing appreciation for the complexity of individuals’ experiences while navigating the mental health space, a focus on intersectional approaches and breaking down traditional siloes is needed. Wellways and McAuley Community Services for Women have developed an innovative partnership solution that embeds a specialist family violence worker in a Prevention and Recovery Care (PARC) service. This presentation will showcase how this integration of clinical and community expertise builds the capacity of all partner organisations to respond to family violence and homelessness alongside mental health and improves the experience of individuals navigating services. The partnership reflects the intent of several recommendations in the Victorian Royal Commissions into Family Violence and Mental Health, including increasing collaboration between services to address complex needs and reducing barriers for those experiencing family violence to accessing housing. Including a 12-month program evaluation and case studies, the presentation details how this innovative collaboration of community and clinical services is enhancing responses for those in need of mental health support, family violence support and housing, with questions welcomed afterwards.