North Western Melbourne Primary Health Network (NWMPHN) is collaborating with cohealth and Melbourne City Mission to implement a $700k pilot to provide specialised support to people who are experiencing homelessness in the City of Yarra and the City of Melbourne.
While the introduction of the NDIS will provide comprehensive and individualised support for people with a disability that may have arisen due to mental health illness, there is a cohort of people with severe mental health issues that will be ineligible for NDIS funding but will still require specialised, less intense psychosocial support.
The Psychosocial Support Services Homelessness (PSS-H) pilot commenced in April 2019 and will continue for 12 months. It will offer flexible support to people who may not be able to access the NDIS, however would still benefit greatly from an individualised approach to meeting their needs.
In simple terms, psychosocial supports may include, receiving practical help (daily living/tasks), being supported (mental health, physical health, education, work, housing, leisure), and getting connected (with others, family, friends, peers, community, mainstream supports, other services).
NWMPHN Deputy CEO Julie Borninkhof said that this program has come from the need to address gaps in support for people who are experiencing homelessness.
“Data has indicated that one third of people who are experiencing homelessness in Victoria are estimated to be residing within the NWMPHN catchment, with mental health issues being much higher in our homeless community than in the general population of Australia,” Julie Borninkhof said.
Caz Healy, cohealth Lead Executive, Services, said that people experiencing homelessness are often unable to access services because of eligibility requirements and intake and assessment procedures can be complex which means people may not get the services they require.
“This pilot program will bring some relief in enabling cohealth’s frontline outreach workers to engage potential clients, rather than expecting them to jump through complex processes to access the services they need,” Caz Healy said.
This homelessness initiative is a component of the region wide psychosocial support services that are currently being planned and commissioned by NWMPHN.