CHP eNews 15 May 2014: Federal budget will cause upsurge in homelessness



CHP eNews 2014

15 May 2014

Dear *|FNAME|*,
Federal budget – implications for the sector
The Federal Government has released details of its 2014-15 Budget, including  a host of changes which will have a negative impact on young people, the unemployed, the sick and aged. Just some of these changes include:

  • People under 30 who register for Newstart or Youth Allowance “Other” due to unemployment will wait for six months until they receive their first payment, and can only receive payments for a maximum of six months.
  • The eligibility age for Newstart will be lifted to 25, leaving more people on the lower Youth Allowance payment (which is $45/week less than Newstart).
  • A new co-payment of $7 will apply to all GP visits.
  • Hospitals can choose to charge for Emergency Department visits for ‘GP like attendances’.
  • Pension age will rise to 70 (from 2035)
  • The abolition of the remaining rounds of the NRAS program, meaning the number of new homes built under the program will reduce from 50,000 properties to 30,000 properties nationally.
  • Funding cut to the Journeys Home research project beyond the current one-year extension.

 The National Partnership Agreement on Homelessness has received a 12 month extension (this was pre-announced March), but no provision has been made for a four-year commitment (in contrast to the Victorian Government’s recent announcement).

As a sector that works with the most disadvantaged in our community, the budget has significant implications for our clients. We are anticipating an increase in demand for homelessness services from people who have been pushed even further into poverty due to reduced access to income support payments and increased healthcare costs.

CHP is particularly concerned that the changes to Newstart Allowance and Youth Allowance will see more young people facing homelessness. We encourage you to write to the Minister for Social Services Kevin Andrews to express your concern about the impact of these changes and the Shadow Treasurer Chis Bowen  asking the ALP to oppose these changes in the Senate.

Changes to Newstart and Youth Allowance will cause upsurge in youth homelessness
The following is taken from a media release distributed by CHP on Wednesday: “The paltry Youth Allowance of $207 per week barely covers housing and sees many young people living on a diet of rice and bread, so what will they eat when they have no money?” said Jenny Smith in response to budget news that Newsart and Youth Allowance payments will be suspended for six months.  
“How is a young person meant to survive on $0 per week, when the average rent in Melbourne is $360 per week?”
“The point when a young person becomes unemployed is when income support is most critical; to help pay for transport to and from interviews and appointments, to tide over rent and bills and supplement job-seeking costs,” said Ms Smith.

Government announcement of recommissioning of PDRS Services
In July 2013 the Department of Health released a new framework for PDRSS. It renamed the PDRSS program as the “Mental Health Community Support Services (MCCHS)” program, and in August opened a tender process to recommission the MHCSS.
The Government last week announced the 15 successful tenderers, releasing this Ministerial Communique which outlines the services who will be delivering $74 million of community mental health services across 15 catchment areas in Victoria.
The reform of mental health services is a period of huge upheaval for the sector, and although last week’s announcement lead to celebration for some, for unsuccessful tenderers the loss of funding has left large budget deficits, and great disappointment. We extend our congratulations and commiserations to our colleagues during this time.
VICSERV has a range of resources to assist staff and employers/organisations in this next phase, which can be accessed from the website.   
Permanent Supportive Housing – an explainer
Permanent Supportive Housing is permanent, independent and affordable housing that is accompanied by a suite of services matched to people’s needs and preferences. Like rapid re-housing, it is premised on a ‘housing first’ philosophy. Permanent Supportive Housing is targeted at people experiencing long term homelessness, usually with a range of mental, physical or substance misuse issues. See our fact sheet on Permanent Supportive Housing.

CHP delivers armfuls of ‘end homelessness’ postcards to Premier
Many of you participated in our ‘end homelessness’ postcard campaign, which saw us collect 928 signed postcards addressed to the Premier which called on the Victorian Government to support our Budget proposals, including an investment of $14 million per annum to end rough sleeping for good.
Last week our CEO, Jenny  Smith, along with PESP members Dani and Jacqui, both who have experienced rough sleeping, delivered all 928 signed postcards to the Premier’s office.
Thanks to everyone who got involved and sent in their signed postcard.

J2SI evaluation reveals promising results
Sacred Heart Missions’ Journey to Social Inclusion (J2SI) pilot program was designed to break the cycle of long-term homelessness through intensive support accompanied by housing. The pilot provided intensive support for three years to assist 40 people who were long-term homeless to receive the range of services they need.
The evaluation of the program has revealed promising results, showing that after three years, 85% of J2SI participants were housed compared to 41% in a control group. There were also significant improvements in emotional and physical health.
The evidence confirms that given the right level of support people who have experienced long-term homelessness can maintain their housing. The full evaluation can be downloaded here.

Surviving or Thriving? Older Victorians at risk of homelessness
The surviving or thriving forum is hosted by the Housing for the Aged Action Group (HAAG)  to discuss the current state of older person’s housing the needs of older people who are at risk of homelessness. The Forum will be opened by the Hon Minister Wendy Lovell, and feature the latest academic research on older people and homelessness.

Date: Thursday 5 June
Venue: Victoria University, City Flinders Campus, Level 12, 300 Flinders Street
Cost: Early bird: $55; Regular: $70
For more information, download the flier or email Kaye.

Public launch of the Neami Health Prompt
Over the last two years, Neami National has developed and trialled Australia’s first physical health tool both based on consumer-led research and designed specifically for a community mental health setting.
Neami are now making this tool available to others, in mental health and more widely, to improve health responses and outcomes for people with complex needs.
SANE Australia’s CEO Jack Heath will launch the Neami Health Prompt at an Auslan interpreted event in Melbourne, to be followed by morning tea.

Date: Thursday 22 May 2014
Time: 8.45am for a 9am start
Venue: The Wheeler Centre for Books, Writing and Ideas, 176 Lonsdale Street, Melbourne
RSVPs and more information: RSVP by Friday 16 May to Sarah O’Connor 

Rooming house closure
Yarra Community Housing has advised that the rooming house at 36 Nicholson Street, Fitzroy, will be closing. They have met with the tenants to inform them and are in the process of working on a transition plan with each of them, with the purpose of finding an alternative, appropriate outcome.
Further information is contained within this letter from YCH, or by contacting Shari McPhail.

In case you missed the news!

CHP Updates

Training seminar: Working with men who use family violence

Family violence is the number one cause of homelessness in Australia. Understanding how to identify and work with men who use family violence is a critical skill for practitioners.
The Council to Homeless Persons and No To Violence, the peak body for the prevention of male family violence, are offering a one-day training course targeted at people working in the homelessness and housing fields and allied services such as mental health and AOD. 
By equipping yourself with practical skills and up-to-date knowledge on issues related to family violence, you will improve client welfare outcomes and learn to how to safely engage in this area of practice. The training will cover:

  • Forms of family violence
  • Gendered nature of family violence
  • Barriers to leaving
  • Dynamics of men’s use of violence
  • Myths about the causes of family violence
  • Direct involvement with men
  • Ongoing assessment, monitoring, and risk management.
  • Collusion
  • Important information to gather
  • Safe Practices in engagement

Date: 1 July 2014
Time: 9.30 – 4.30pm
Venue: Collingwood Library Meeting Room, 11 Stanton Street
Abbotsford, VIC, 3065

Cost: $45 (includes morning and afternoon tea and lunch)
RSVP: To register via eventbrite click here

June 2014 Parity: ‘Housing, Homelessness and Disability’ edition: call for contributions
Contributions are sought for this edition of Parity, which examines the housing and homelessness issues experienced by people with a disability, and in particular the housing and accommodation options that could be made available as part of the through the planned implementation of the NDIS.
Many people living with disability are at risk of homelessness whether they are in private housing, the family home or in some form of institutional care. As recent research has demonstrated, “…persons with a disability have a greater exposure to the risk of homelessness than the general population….”  
Contributions close on 14 June. More details available here.

People skills for working with complex behaviours
NWHN and Wodonga TAFE present a training workshop on “People Skills for Working with Complex Behaviours”. This workshop focuses on developing participants’ skills and abilities to engage with people who have complex needs and what are often referred to as ‘challenging behaviours’. This includes dealing with anger, grief and loss, and mental health issues (risk of suicide is also discussed
Date: 4 June 2014
More info here.

Working with young people workshop – self harm/self injury behaviours
The complexity of issues facing young people today continues to grow. Adolescence is in itself a time of conflict. The required responses of workers with young people continue to grow. This workshop utilises the latest research to better equip workers with young people, and will provide answers applicable to your day-to-day work.
Date: Monday 21 July 2014
More info here.  
Working with the Person who is Suicidal (PreSAP) – An Introductory Workshop
The Centre for the Human Rights of Imprisoned People (CHRIP) a project of Flat Out is running this program for  legal and non-legal advocates and community members. The sessions have a focus on increasing our capacity to undertake individual and systemic advocacy that upholds the rights of criminalised and incarcerated people.  In particular, they reflect our concern with the nexus between homelessness, drug and alcohol use and criminalisation.
Date: Wednesday 4 June
Time:  9:30am-4:30pm
Location: Melbourne
Cost: $40
For more information, please contact Phoebe on (03) 9372 6155 or go to the Flat Out website.

VCOSS Summit: Setting the agenda
Finding smarter, better and fairer ways to address Victoria’s social and economic challenges must be on the agenda for the 2014 State Election and beyond.
The VCOSS Summit is bringing  together leaders and strategic thinkers from the community sector, government, business, and the media to explore the big issues facing our state and how we can better address disadvantage.
Date: Friday 30 May
Time: 9:00am – 4.30pm
Venue: ZINC at Federation Square, Melbourne
Cost: $165 (members) $330 (non-members)
Tickets and more info available via EventBrite 

ACOSS National Conference – Global problems, local solutions: Tackling inequality in Australia and beyond
The ACOSS National Conference connects people in the community sector, along with business and government, to discuss the latest directions, ideas and action to address poverty and inequality in Australia.
Date: 11 & 12 June 2014
Venue: Brisbane
For registrations and program information, go to the conference website or download the flier.

13th Australian Institute of Family Studies conference – Families in a rapidly changing world
Date: 30 July – 1 August
The AIFS conference will showcase cutting-edge research on topical issues relating to how families are adjusting to a rapidly changing world. It will outline key policy priorities for advancing the wellbeing of Australian families.
Venue: Melbourne Convention Centre
More information at the conference website.

8th National Homelessness Conference: Complexities & Countermeasures
At this biennial conference front-line providers, academics, governments and agencies and those with a lived experience of homelessness will connect to identify the multiple and interwoven causes of homelessness, unpack the elements of successful programs, policies and practices, and seek ways these can be applied to prevent and end homelessness.
Date: 10 – 12 September 2014
Venue: Gold Coast
Further information can be found on the conference website.

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Collingwood, Victoria 3066
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