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 Home in Place Commitment
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.
The Australian Bureau of Statistics estimates around 116,000 Australians are homeless on any given night.
Many Home in Place tenants have experienced homelessness in one form or another. Some have fled domestic or family violence. Others have experienced addiction or mental health issues. Some simply cannot afford to rent privately.
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.
We are also a major contributor to several innovative projects designed to reduce homelessness including Hunter Homeless Connect, Together Home and This Way Home.
Hunter Homeless Connect
As part of our ongoing contribution to community, Home in Place has provided local charity, Hunter Homeless Connect, with a dedicated coordinator to run their annual Hunter Homeless
Connect Day event since 2012.
The event is a one-stop-shop of human and community services, including free health checks, legal services, haircuts, massages, immunisations, birth certificates, food, clothing and much
more. It is delivered by a community coalition of government and non-government organisations and volunteers and enables people in crisis to access vital services.
For the past five years, Home in Place Events & Community Relations Manager, Michelle Faithfull, has been coordinating the event, as well as managing the charity’s website, social media platforms, fundraising campaigns.
In 2021, Michelle coordinated the distribution of the popular Hunter Homeless Connect Community Directory. Thanks to funding provided by the City of Newcastle, the directory was taken online as the world locked down and has become an extremely popular resource. The directory has become the most downloaded resource from the national My Community Directory website with over 2000 downloads. 10,000 hard copies have also been distributed in the community over the past 12 months.
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