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Our News and Views

by Nicole Thompson, Crisis and Accommodation Services Manager
Inner Melbourne Community Hub, VincentCare Victoria

VincentCare is a homelessness focused organisation committed to supporting those in our community who are most disadvantaged.

final housing support nicoleOur Purpose is to create opportunities and lasting change for the most marginalised by:

  • Supporting individuals and their families so that their basic needs are met in terms of food, shelter, safety and security
  • Providing access to programs and pathways that strengthen an individual’s resilience and support them in accessing opportunities within their communities and
  • Advocating and building capacity in order to redress the structural inequalities in the community that create disadvantage

Research shows a critical link between homelessness and trauma. Subsequently, recovery from homelessness can be a long and complex journey. VincentCare Victoria provides a range of programs, services and accommodation options to support people through the journey and empower them to achieve their goals and aspirations.

For those experiencing homelessness, the provision of and access to secure housing is essential, however; housing without support is not always sustainable for those who may have experienced disadvantage. VincentCare acknowledges this and works from a recovery focused client centered approach, through the Homelessness Recovery Model which is designed to support and empower clients. In recognising that there may be a range of factors contributing to a person experiencing homelessness, it is then necessary to commit to providing the support required to address these issues, and provide access to the resources and services needed to achieve this.

VincentCare operates one of the three funded Crisis Accommodation Services in Victoria, Ozanam House which is a 59 bed facility funded to provide accommodation for males over the age of 18. Accomodation is not all that is provided at this service. Case Management Services are based at Ozanam House and each resident participates in the creation of a case plan focused on providing housing options and addressing the factors contributing to homelessness and the opportunity to connect with appropriate services in order to achieve their goals. We recognize the need to work with the whole person, and provide a wrap around service approach to provide a continuum of care to support people in their recovery from homelessness. Once a resident exits Ozanam House and secures further sustainable housing on going outreach case management is provided to assist in this transition.

At Ozanam House residents are able to address their medical and physical health needs as they have access to an onsite Nurse through the RDNS HPP Program, this enables residents to receive immediate attention to medical conditions and timely and quality assessments and referrals. Residents are also provided with three nutritious meals per day, Acupuncture on a fortnightly basis and access to an onsite gym.

Ozanam House also has a long standing, strong partnership with City 1A Mental Health Outreach Team who provide onsite support to residents. Mental Health issues can be a substantial barrier for those experiencing homelessness, which can impact the ability to maintain employment, engage in social inclusion activities and maintain relationships. The identification of and support regarding Mental Health concerns is essential for people experiencing homelessness.

Alcohol and Other Drug issues can also be a significant barrier to accessing and maintaining housing. In recognition of this Ozanam House also offers The Brief Intervention Program, which consists of two AOD Clinicians who provide brief intervention, ongoing support, outings, groups and referrals regarding Alcohol and Other Drug Issues.

Engagement and Social Inclusion play a large part in supporting people to access and maintain housing, residents at Ozanam House are offered the opportunity to participate in free activities onsite such as to participate in weekly music and art therapy groups on site, and Acupuncture is offered on a fortnightly basis to residents.

All services and programs operate from a Recovery Focused Client Centered approach, and resident feedback plays a large part in the provision of services. Regular have your say meetings occur at Ozanam House which feed directly into the groups and activities provided that residents identify they would benefit from. Recovery from Homelessness is a journey that is individual for each person, and the support needs vary accordingly. VincentCare empowers clients to identify their goals and aspirations as well as the supports and resources required to gain and maintain the outcomes they are seeking.

Nicole Thompson
Crisis and Accommodation Services Manager
Inner Melbourne Community Hub, VincentCare Victoria

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