State & territory jurisdictional reports: Activity relating to mental health reform prior to the implementation of the Fourth National Mental Health Plan

5. Develop integrated programs between mental health support services and housing agencies to provide tailored assistance to people with mental illness and mental health problems living in the community

Page last updated: December 2010

Department of Families, Housing, Community Services and Indigenous Affairs

  • Personal Helpers and Mentors (PHaMs) - Where housing is an issue PHaMs works one on one with individuals with mental illness to help them obtain and maintain suitable housing. Just over 10.5 per cent of PHaMs clients were homeless or at risk of homelessness as at 31 January 2010. PHaMs Round Four Funding is targeted at vulnerable groups which include the homeless. Selected sites include known concentrations of people experiencing homelessness across all states and territories.
  • Support services for people who are homeless (including people with mental health issues)
    • All States and Territories are delivering the following support under the National Partnership Agreement on Homelessness:
      • Street to Home program which assists people living on the street to move into accommodation with support services.
      • Support for private and public tenants to help sustain their tenancies, including through tenancy support, advocacy, case management, financial counselling and referral services.
      • Assistance for people leaving child protection services, correctional and health facilities, to access and maintain stable, affordable housing. Reconnect program which uses community-based early intervention services to assist young people aged 12 to 18 years who are homeless. Top of page
      Some examples include:
      • A new assertive outreach model is being implemented in Qld (Brisbane, Townsville, Cairns and Gold Coast) to bring people off the streets into housing. Similarly an assertive outreach program is being delivered in WA (Inner city-Perth and Fremantle) which includes wrap around support services for rough sleepers.
      • In SA a statewide early intervention Intensive Tenancy Support Program is assisting tenants to avoid tenancy disruption and eviction from public and private accommodation.
      • A new statewide project in Vic is assisting young people leaving care to ensure a successful transition to sustainable accommodation and independence.
      • Up to eight houses are being provided in Sydney metropolitan and northern NSW to house women leaving detention who may have one or more children. Indigenous women are considered a priority group.
    • People with mental health issues may also benefit from the following assistance, which is being provided by some jurisdictions under the National Partnership Agreement on Homelessness:
      • Support to assist homeless people with mental health issues to secure or maintain stable accommodation. Examples include:
        • In NSW and ACT – the Housing and Accommodation Support Initiative is providing accommodation and tenancy support, clinical care and rehabilitation and personal support to people with mental health issues.
        • In QLD - services for young people (15-25 years) showing early signs and symptoms of mental health problems will be established. The service will offer short term, intensive and focused support for young people experiencing mental health issues for up to three weeks. Top of page
      • Services to assist homeless people with substance abuse to secure or maintain stable accommodation. An example is:
        • In WA – provision of 10 Alcohol and Drug Housing Support Workers to integrate homeless services with mainstream services to provide intensive support for homeless people with substance issues to secure or maintain stable accommodation.
      • Support for women and children experiencing domestic and family violence to stay in their present housing where it is safe to do so.
    • The Household Organisation Management Expenses (HOME) Advice Program provides early intervention to assist families at risk of homelessness to manage their finances and household expenses in order to prevent future accommodation crises. The HOME Advice Program funds one community organisation and one Centrelink social worker in each state and territory. Centrelink social workers provide clients with detailed advice on Centrelink services, while community organisations provide specialised assistance around a range of issues. Top of page
  • Affordable housing supply
    • A large part of the solution for people who are homeless, which includes people with mental health problems, is to provide more affordable social housing. The Australian Government is working in partnership with States and Territories to increase the supply of affordable housing by more than 80,000 dwellings – 50,000 affordable rental homes and 30,000 social housing dwellings.
    • The Nation Building Economic Stimulus Plan, National Partnership Agreement on Social Housing, A Place to Call Home (APTCH) and National Rental Affordability Scheme (NRAS), are providing targeted accommodation and support services for people who are homeless. These include:
      • 8 Common Ground developments - Provide affordable rental housing, and parallel personal support, to low income people and those experiencing, and at risk of, homelessness.
      • 3 Foyer type models - Provide young people safe housing while they participate in education and work.
      • 750 APTCH, including 361 long term homes for families - People at immediate risk of homelessness move directly into permanent housing and receive tenancy and support services for the first 12 months to help them address the issues that led to homelessness and reintegrate with the broader community.
      • 3 developments for aged people who are homeless, including Wintringham in Victoria - Long term housing and support for older people who have been chronically homeless.
      • Accommodation for young people aged from 11 years who are unable to live at home, eg Reunification House in SA
      • Housing for Domestic Violence perpetrators, transitional accommodation for Aboriginal people in SA and NT, and accommodation for women and children escaping domestic violence. Top of page
    • Under the National Partnership Agreement on Remote Indigenous Housing the Commonwealth is providing $5.4 billion over 10 years to reform responsibilities between the Australian Government, the states and the Northern Territory in the provision of housing for Indigenous people.
    • The Australian Government's $512 million Housing Affordability Fund is lowering the cost of new homes by reducing planning delays and lowering infrastructure changes on new developments.
    • The Australian Government's National Rental Affordability Scheme (NRAS) is stimulating the supply of new affordable rental dwellings by up to 50 000. Under NRAS successful applicants will be eligible to receive a National Rental Incentive for each approved dwelling, on the condition that they are rented to eligible low and moderate income households at 20 per cent below market rates. Top of page

Department of Veterans' Affairs

  • VVCS – Veterans and Veterans Counselling Service implemented a mental health case management service in 2008–09, to provide support for members of the veteran community with complex needs affecting their mental health and wellbeing.

Human services portfolio

  • Centrelink Community Engagement Officers (CCEOs) provide Centrelink services on an outreach basis to individuals and families as well as to relevant agencies such as emergency accommodation services