Homelessness is an issue that affects us all and there are countless stories of people who find themselves homeless who never in their wildest dreams thought that they would be. We need to do more than service homelessness, we need to end it.
The Australian Bureau of Statistics estimates around 116,000 Australians are homeless on any given night. Close to 300,000 people per year receive support from specialist homelessness services with a staggering one in six (16%) being children under the age of 10.
Many Home in Place tenants have experienced homelessness in one form or another. Close to 10% were homeless prior to being housed in one of our properties. Some have fled domestic or family violence. Others have experienced addiction or mental health issues. Some simply can’t afford to rent privately.
The Home in Place Commitment
Provision of services for people experiencing homelessness is a significant part of Home in Place client services with 15 full time employees dedicated to Housing Access alone.
Home in Place works closely with local homelessness support services in all jurisdictions to help people experiencing homelessness transition into stable long-term accommodation.
Home in Place is a major contributor to several innovative homelessness projects designed to reduce homelessness or support those experiencing homelessness. These initiatives include the Together Home program, This Way Home, facilitation of the Big Ideas Homelessness Network, and the annual Hunter Homeless Connect Day event.
Home in Place Song
Housing is a human right, right?
Hunter Homeless Connect
Hunter Homeless Connect Day is an annual event that links people to vital services, such as accommodation and housing providers, health and wellbeing, legal and financial assistance, employment, study, and general support to people who are experiencing homelessness, doing it tough, or are at risk of homelessness.
Home in Place staff have participated in Hunter Homeless Connect Day each year since its inception in 2009 and, for the past six years, Home in Place Events & Community Relations Manager, Michelle Faithfull, has been coordinating the event, as well as managing the Hunter Homeless Connect website, social media platforms, fundraising campaigns.
Michelle coordinated the distribution of the popular Hunter Homeless Connect Community Directory and, to date, over 25,00o hard copies have been distributed. Thanks to funding provided by the City of Newcastle, the directory was taken online as the world locked down. The directory has become the most downloaded resource from the national My Community Directory website with over 5271 downloads.
Home in Place Events & Community Relations Manager and Hunter Homeless Connect Day Coordinator Michelle Faithfull
Homelessness can happen to any of us at any given time. It's not an identity, it's an experience in a person's life with a cause, and more often than not, a solution.
In 2021, Home in Place was awarded an additional $2m in funding by the NSW Department of Communities and Justice (DCJ) through the innovative “Together Home” program.
Together Home is a $122.1m program that aims to transition people onto a trajectory away from homelessness and into long-term stable housing, while improving overall personal wellbeing.
To date Home in Place has received $4 million through the program to house 60 people with support provision subcontracted to Neami and the Jeder Institute.
Separate to this funding Home in Place has received a further $537,000 to partner with Yerrin Aboriginal Health on a pilot Together Home program for indigenous rough sleepers on the Central Coast.
When I first got the unit I slept for almost three days. When you’re living on the street you have so much anxiety. You never feel safe. Moving in here was the first time in years I felt like I could actually relax.
Casey | Together HomeRead more
Big Ideas Homelessness Network
In March 2017, Home in Place hosted an event at City Hall in Newcastle; Ending Homelessness: The Big Ideas, where members of the community came together to hear a group of speakers present on various existing concepts in ending homelessness.
At the conclusion of the event, there was an overwhelming response in support of a Common Ground facility.
A community collaborative, named the Big Ideas Homelessness Network was formed shortly after this forum.
Since the inception of this collaborative, many informal suggestions brought to the network and have been considered. Most of these were rejected for their failure to comply with a Housing First approach, and in the majority of examples, the network has felt that they potentially maintain people in a status that would be defined as homeless by the ABS.
Consequently, after a period of formal research and site visits to existing Common Ground facilities in Brisbane and Adelaide, the Common Ground model remained the stand-out solution. The concept was presented to the Hunter Joint Organisation of Councils in July 2019 and after much discussion, the group provided their official ‘in principle support’ statement in March 2020. A formal document, Common Ground – A Regional Strategy, together with the statement of support by the Hunter Joint Organisation of Councils was then submitted to the Minister for Families, Communities and Disabilities, the Hon Gareth Ward MP on 3rd March 2020.
In addition to moving the Common Ground concept forward, the network has achieved various other initiatives over the past few years, including the successful implementation of a homelessness community Pledge (with 6 local councils and 14 organisations signing up as founding signatories), the distribution of a homeless service resource card and the pro-bono development of a “Digital Vault” database.
Learn more about the network at bigideashomelessnessnetwork.org