In 2015, Lord Mayor’s Charitable Foundation provided a Proactive Grant of $80,000 to Council to Homeless Persons (CHP) to begin the pilot project that would improve service co-ordination between more than 10 agencies caring for rough sleepers in Melbourne’s CBD.
Due to the success of the pilot, the Foundation provided further funding of $80,000 in 2016 to CHP to continue the project for a further year. The City of Melbourne has now matched this funding.
Now known as the Homelessness Service Coordination Project, it has resulted in improvements in communication, relationships, collaboration, and connection between the service providers, with better housing and care outcomes for clients.
The Foundation is part of the Executive Partnership Group which meets with service provider partners to discuss the co-ordination model, participate in evaluation interviews and workshops.
The Homeless Service Co-ordination Project was reviewed by the Nous Group for the Victorian Government, which will provide ongoing support for the service, alongside the City of Melbourne.
The Foundation’s support was critical early support for an innovative solution to address homelessness in Melbourne's CBD.
Catherine Brown said, “This project has brought together ten service providers supporting people who are homeless or at-risk of homelessness in the City of Melbourne and nearby areas. The project is a collaboration between the Foundation, City of Melbourne, Council for Homeless Persons with Melbourne City Mission, Justice Connect, The Salvation Army and other important organisations.
“It has been an important learning journey for all participants, with the end goal of helping ensure that people who are homeless get the services they need in a way that suits their particular situation, with a focus on transitioning away from homelessness.”
Jenny Smith, CEO at CHP said, “The program has assisted rough sleepers to exit homelessness. At the time there were approximately 130 rough sleepers in the CBD who were vulnerable, isolated, and suffer from chronic illness and mental health conditions.
“Supporting newly arrived rough sleepers to exit quickly from homelessness is critical in delaying any secondary trauma experienced from being homeless.
By connecting both formal outreach and informal charitable response services through a shared inter-agency response and case management system, the capacity of agencies as part of this co-ordinated service structure has greatly improved. Agency workers are better equipped to identify shared clients and develop response programs tailored to meet the individual needs of people who are homeless.
“We’ve aimed to provide more flexible and supported pathways out of homelessness,” added Jenny Smith.