Pilot Darwin Homelessness Response Group (HRG)

Project aim

This project aims to pilot and demonstrate a collaborative multi service model of coordinated support to benefit clients who are homeless or at risk of homelessness – many of whom have severe and persistent mental ill-health, with ‘wrap around’ support. It also aims to provide services with access to brokerage funds to promptly resolve client needs when resources are not immediately available.

Project context

Community based services and Government agencies in Darwin have shared goals with regards to supporting clients that are homeless or at risk of homelessness with co-occurring severe and persistent mental ill-health but an inability to effectively collaborate at an operational level has meant clients don’t always get access to solutions that are available to them. Meeting client needs is also less successful when they have a relationship with multiple agencies – each initiating their own variant of a needs assessment and action plan. Service providers recognise that resources are limited, and that the needs of clients in this sector can be complex and often require mental health and alcohol and other drugs interventions. Greater collaboration at the operational level will place the client at the centre, and maximise the level of support available to them.

Project activities

The HRG project steering group comprised of key managers from relevant organisations has been actively meeting to do the ground work for the active phase of the project. The group has developed a common needs assessment tool and will conduct training for other service providers in Darwin on how to use the form and make referrals to the group. Guidelines and documentation for the use of brokerage funds have also been developed to provide a final option for providing support when no other options are available. The project has progressed according to the original plan in terms of its member make-up and focus on preventing homelessness within the target client group, and creating a singular entry point for referrals.

Project impact

The project has formalised and strengthened the relationship between organisations in this sector, and it is anticipated that at its completion in June 2016 there will be sufficient evidence of positive system reform outcomes for the group to continue in some form. The project is bringing a very action oriented response to a challenging issue, and there is strong interest in seeing this level of coordination applied to other areas of mental health related service delivery.