The idea of a Specialist Housing Support Project (SHSP) was first considered in early 2013 and became a reality when our application for funds under the GHSH Innovation Fund was successful, commencing in September 2013. SHSP is an innovative early intervention and prevention homelessness strategy.
The Project has several key partners being Housing NSW, New Horizons and McCosker House. The Program is co- located with Housing NSW 4 mornings per week. SHSP workers refer clients to the most appropriate service for case management and assist its partners to support the successful case management of the client so that they can achieve their goals and limit or reduce the longer term and intergenerational impact of homelessness on people who live in the Port Macquarie Hastings district.
In seeing the whole person, the SHSP staff work to assist the client to secure and maintain affordable housing, create and strengthen linkages with partners that support the client with improved; financial security, educational outcomes, employment outcomes or goals, health outcomes, mental health outcomes, and a reduction in self harm related behaviours including drug and alcohol abuse and other addictions.
The Steering Committee comprises of management level representatives from partner agencies who meet at regular intervals to support the operation of the Project. The Committee includes representatives from D&FVSS, Housing NSW, New Horizons, McCosker House and Centrelink.
In 2013-14, the transitional housing program grew from 12 properties to a total of 16 properties. D&FVSS have maintained partnerships with Community Housing, MA Housing, Centacare Housing and have welcomed a new partnership with Housing NSW, under a program called A Place To Call Home.
These properties allow for women and children to gain a rental history, regain independence, confidence and allow them to recover from trauma. These properties are classed as medium term accommodation and women are provided with opportunity to engage with a support worker to reach as many goals as they identify through this period.