Seven ways Victoria is ending homelessness

As part of CHP’s bi-annual conference, we were thrilled to announce the winners of the 2015 Victorian Homelessness Achievement Awards. These awards provide an opportunity to acknowledge outstanding workers within the specialist homelessness service system. As expected, all the nominees were extraordinarily generous and caring people who go above and beyond the expectations of their job so they can contribute to ending the experience of homelessness for those who they engage with. In reality each nominee could have been a highly deserving winner, and we encourage you to view the list of nominees and their activities here. However we did have to select winners, and they were:

1. Kids Under Cover, for Excellence in ending homelessness among young people

For 25 years now Kids Under Ccover has been building one and two bedroom studio apartments on the properties of carers or family so they can stay living in otherwise overcrowded homes. They also work to keep young people engaged with education, and are currently housing 533 young people who were previously at risk of homelessness.

2. Improving Safety in the Home Response (Safe Futures), for Excellence in ending homelessness among families

Safe Futures enables women and children to stay in the family home following family violence. The program does a personal and property risk assessment (which was developed in conjunction with Victoria Police) and provides safety upgrades to the house including duress alarms, security locks, CCTV camera installation. To date, 45 women and 83 children have been assisted to remain safely in their homes.

3. Wadamba Wilam (Neami National), for Excellence in ending homelessness among adults

Wadamba Wilam provides a Social and Emotional Wellbeing (SEWB) focused intensive outreach service to Aboriginal people over 16 years who have severe and enduring mental illness, and are experiencing homelessness. Operating in Darebin and Whittlesea, the program started in 2013 and has helped 17 people into secure housing – 100 percent of those people have maintained their tenancies!

4. Home at Last, for Excellence in ending homelessness among older people

Home at Last helps older people who are in housing crisis around Victoria transition into long term suitable accommodation. Many of Home at Last’s clients are experiencing homelessness for the first time, and over its three year existence the program has stabilised housing for 2,576 older people and assisted 785 into long term accommodation. An impressive 98 percent of people who came through the program needed no further housing assistance.

5. Luba Tanevski, Registered Migration Agent, inTouch Multicultural Centre Against Family Violence, Leading practitioner award (for workers)

Luba has worked with inTouch Multicultural Centre Against Family Violence for 20 years, helping women living in Australia on temporary spousal visas who are experiencing family violence. The women Luba works with are particularly vulnerable because they rely on their husbands, the perpetrators of the violence, for their residency and financial support. To better help these women Luba completed her studies to become a registered migration agent, and has helped more than 2000 women secure permanent residency.

6. Carol Jarvis, the Consumer achievement award

Carol lived at the Lighthouse Foundation for three years after becoming homeless aged 16. With their support Carol transitioned to independent living and went on to gain tertiary qualifications in Youth Work, Alcohol and Other Drugs and Mental Health. Carol has since returned to the Lighthouse as a Therapeutic Youth Worker and also works at Melbourne City Mission supporting young women and children in crisis.

7. Susan Barton, Founder of Lighthouse Foundation, for the Beth Thomson lifetime achievement award

Susan has been caring for vulnerable young people for more than 35 years. After many years as a foster carer she started the Lighthouse Foundation in 1991, and worked with psychologists to develop the Therapeutic Model of Care™. In those 24 years the Lighthouse Foundation has ended homelessness for over 750 young people. In order to grow Lighthouse Susan has built exceptional relationships with the private sector to supplement the limited government funding Lighthouse receives.