Wednesday 16 October 2013


Hansard of the Legislative Council







[2.55 p.m.]

Mr FINCH (Question) - Back on the subject of homelessness, my question is to the leader. Is the government aware of a pilot Mission Australia program in Victoria funded through philanthropy having achieved a 97 per cent success rate in helping homeless men off the streets and into stable housing over a year? Will the government consider adopting such a program for Tasmania, noting that the program provides homeless people with immediate access to long-term sustainable accommodation and ongoing support?

Mr FARRELL - Mr President, I thank the honourable member for Rosevears for his question. The pilot program that the honourable member is referring to is the MISHA - Michael's Intensive Supported Housing Accord - program, often referred to as Michael's program. This is a three-year philanthropically funded pilot program involving 74 men.

The Michael's Intensive Supported Housing Accord program provides immediate access to long-term housing for chronically homeless men, skipping the crisis or transitional‑accommodation approach. Tailored support services are then provided, stabilising their accommodation and helping to end recycling back into homelessness. It is the first year that Michael's Intensive Support Housing Accord program has been very successful.

Housing Tasmania funds a number of programs that take a very similar approach. Common Ground Tasmania, in particular, takes a very similar approach. The Common Ground Tasmania service model is also a housing first model, with wraparound services to stabilise people's lives and address often longstanding health and social issues. When people have stable housing they are then able to rebuild their lives and connect with family, training and employment. Common Ground Tasmania, in collaboration with Salvation Army Tasmania, has workers dedicated to identifying homeless people or people who are at risk of homelessness, assessing their needs and ensuring the appropriate supports are put into place.

The Tasmanian government also funds full support and residential facilities and three supported accommodation facilities across the state. Each of these responses provides long-term housing and supports as the cornerstone for clients re-establishing their lives after episodes of homelessness. The STAY program is another example of the Tasmanian government responding to people who are at risk or who are homeless, providing long-term accommodation with wraparound intensive support services.

Housing Connect, launched on 1 October 2013, is a new approach to providing integrated accommodation and support services. Housing Connect represents a significant shift in how services are accessed by clients and delivered by providers. Housing Connect is a front-door model providing a one-stop shop for housing and support assistance. Housing Connect will provide access to immediate assistance, assessments and intake services. Social housing tenants will be able to access support to sustain their tenancies regardless of whether they are housed in the community sector or by Housing Tasmania.

Ending homelessness and stabilising people's housing has been given a high priority by this government. The way accommodation and support is provided in this state has changed significantly, and the government is confident it will lead to reduced homelessness and housing insecurity in the future.