Authors: Fiona Markwick and Aoife Pollins, VIC
Event: 2017 TheMHS Conference
Type of resource: Conference Presentations and Papers
Abstract: Homelessness remains a significant problem in Inner Melbourne and, despite the efforts of multiple agencies, those with severe mental illness are over-represented in the homeless population. As a consortium, cohealth (lead agency), Inner West Area Mental Health Service, McAuley Community Services for Women and Launch Housing, established the Homeless Outreach Mental Health and Housing Service (HOMHS) in 2013 through Breaking the Cycle: Reducing Homelessness funding. The service aimed to address the complex care needs of people experiencing entrenched homelessness and its subsequent health, social and economic impacts as a result of severe and enduring mental illness. HOMHS built on existing initiatives of the partnership agencies to effectively provide a coordinated, enhanced, intensive and recovery-centred team approach in working with this client group in the Inner West and CBD areas. This innovative collaboration has improved access for consumers to mental health services, housing and support, physical health care and practical assistance. Outcomes included a 42% decrease in emergency department admissions and 4.9% reduction in psychiatric specific hospital admissions in just over three years. 79.4% of homeless clients were able to access stable housing and 98% maintained stable accommodation.