Neami's response to homelessness rates on the rise

The Australian Bureau of Statistics recently released their homelessness estimates, based on the 2016 Census of Population and Housing.

There has been a 14% increase in homelessness rates in the last 5 years – representing a significant and worrying trend. There are now 116, 427 homeless people across Australia. This equates to an estimated 50 people in every 10,000 that are homeless.

The results also show that many homeless people are living and sleeping in over-crowded, unsafe or unsuitable accommodation such as tents. 

You can read more detailed information about homelessness in Australia online via The Parliament of Australia website.

Neami’s homeless services are now more important than ever in making a contribution to this important social justice issue and in demonstrating effective models that work to support people while sleeping rough or to find suitable accommodation.

Neami currently provides homelessness services in New South Wales, Victoria and South Australia.

Specialist support in New South Wales

In the Campbelltown and the Camden Local Government Areas of Sydney, the Macarthur Accommodation and Access Program (MAAP) has provided accommodation and support for couples, LGBTIQ couples and single men without children since 2014. This includes men exiting custody or mental health facilities.

The service offers an early response to prevent homelessness, providing safe and supported crisis and transitional accommodation, rapid rehousing and intensive support for people with complex needs.

Macarthur Accommodation and Access Program has a strong focus on providing services for Aboriginal people and services that are accessible to people from culturally and linguistically diverse backgrounds. Last year, Macarthur Accommodation and Access Program supported 363 individuals and couples.

Also in Sydney, since 2010 Neami has operated the specialist homelessness service Way2Home. Way2Home promotes a housing first approach which focuses on helping clients access and sustain long-term supported housing solutions. The service works closely with The Department of Family and Community Services, the City of Sydney council, community housing providers, health services and other community and specialist homelessness services. Way2Home focuses on the needs of those sleeping rough on the streets of Sydney. In the last year Way2Home has supported 748 people. Since the service began it has successfully housed 496 people.

Targeted approaches in Victoria

In Melbourne, since 2013 Wadamba Wilam (Renew Shelter) has provided intensive outreach support to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people experiencing homelessness and enduring mental illness.

The service provides holistic support which includes; mental health, housing, physical health, social and cultural wellbeing, substance use, employment and education.  The service is an innovative partnership led by Neami involving the Victorian Aboriginal Health Service (VAHS), UnitingCare ReGen and the Northern Area Mental Health Service (NAMHS). Wadamba Wilam has supported 73 consumers since it began operating.

Also in Melbourne, the Towards Home program, run in partnership with Launch Housing, and was established in 2017 to provide intensive, flexible and specialist support and accommodation for people with histories of recurring and persistent homelessness. The program was set up with the support of the Victorian Government as a direct response to inner-city homelessness.

Partnerships with purpose in South Australia

In South Australia, Neami recently won the contract to provide the Street to Home program, with a housing-first approach supporting people sleeping rough in the Adelaide CBD.  

Neami staff work in assertive outreach teams to establish relationships and pathways that make housing a real option for people who are living rough on the street, connecting them to support, crisis assistance and primary health care. 

Street to Home is funded by Housing SA, a division of the Department for Communities and Social Inclusion.

Neami and Street to Home are major partners in the Adelaide Zero Project. This is a collective impact project led by the Don Dunston Foundation committed to ending street homelessness in inner city Adelaide. It involves knowing every person sleeping rough by name and coordinating local resources to quickly meet their needs. Having real time data on homelessness will allow the project to understand gaps and strategies most effective in driving down the number of people sleeping rough.

More information

For more information about Neami’s unique approaches to homelessness please feel free to get in touch with Joe Cassar in Service Development.