A partnership between Homelessness NSW,
Domestic Violence NSW and Yfoundations

Organisation - SAHSSI

Excellence in Ending Homelessness - Adults Nominee

Organisation - SAHSSI

Please give your reasons for nominating this organisation.

SAHSSI consistently exceeds funded targets (17% in the Shoalhaven and 47% in the Illawarra) and 88% in the Domestic Violence Enhancement Response (DVRE) Pilot.  SAHSSI continues to find innovative solutions to homelessness, successfully implementing a small sub-lease program in the Shoalhaven where SAHSSI leases a private rental, sub-leasing to a woman who has not been able to secure a private rental independently, with the provision that the landlord take over the lease directly with the lady if there are no tenancy issues within 6 months.  This has resolved homelessness for the women in the program and built trust with local real estates.  SAHSSI works well in partnership with other services.  For example, a partnership between a local community housing provider led to them purchasing accommodation to be case managed by SAHSSI under the DVRE pilot.  In the Illawarra, SAHSSI has committed its own capital to purchasing a property.  SAHSSI lead a partnership with local specialist homelessness services to implement a campaign with local real estate agents to provide a single point of contact where there were tenancy at risk issues.  SAHSSI has the respect of other services and is often selected to trial new approaches.  For example, SAHSSI is one of only 2 organisations in NSW trialling an in-house FaCS Private Rental Broker which provides streamlined access to the FaCS Start Safely Subsidy and Brokerage. SAHSSI takes the lead on collaborative practice, engaging DVNSW to facilitate two state workshops with all DVRE funded services to share best practice and network challenges.  SAHSSI regularly participates and implements programs and events that raise public awareness for the issues surrounding homelessness including attending local shopping centres, Shoalhaven Homelessness Shark Tank Event (2016 and 2017), NAIDOC celebrations, and White Ribbon Events across the region.  SAHSSI contributes to local and District committees and forums to shape the conversation and advocate for the reduction of homelessness.  In summary SAHSSI demonstrates excellence in ending homelessness by consistently supporting over and above our funded targets; trialling innovative solutions to local problems, taking the lead on collaborative opportunities across the state and locally for key programs, and building a reputation for excellence that attracts opportunities to the local women we support.

What outcomes were delivered as a result of this organisation?

On average 69% of the women supported under SAHSSI’s specialist homelessness program resolve their homelessness and 72% of women supported by the Domestic Violence Enhancement Response program, secure safe accommodation.  SAHSSI’s DVRE program has been able to secure alternative accommodation on average within 11 nights (a large improvement on the local average which sees most women use all of their 28 days of temporary accommodation).  In our crisis accommodation/ refuges, SAHSSI is able to secure housing outcomes for women within on average 8 weeks which is again well within the 12 week norm. SAHSSI’s client and stakeholder feedback is consistently positive with up to 96% of respondents speaking in support of the quality of SAHSSI’s responses and services.  SAHSSI demonstrates cultural sensitivity and equity of service through figures that match local demographics for Aboriginality, CALD and over 55’s.  These are impressive outcomes, given that over 65% of our clients do not earn enough income to sit within affordability limits for the median rent for a one bedroom apartment in our region, let alone larger homes that are required by women and children.  SAHSSI is a driven client-focused organisation from the frontline staff through to the management committee and this is how it achieves exceptional outcomes.

Reference statement:

Libby Darlison

Our company, the Miller Group, has worked extensively with not for profit organisations in the homelessness DV sector for over 20 years. We can say, without any hesitation, that SAHSSI is one of the – if not the – most innovative, strategic and sound SHS organisations we have ever had the privilege of working with.   The results speak for themselves. SAHSSI continues to exceed its FACS funded targets. SAHSSI’s clients regularly gain secure accommodation in far less time than is required or expected by funders.  The main funding body often uses SAHSSI as an example of a ‘best practice’ organisation ’at conferences, in seminars etc. and the CEO  and managers are regularly asked to speak publicly about SAHSSI’s ‘success strategies’.  This level of success has not always been easy to achieve or sustain. It requires financial as well as human resources. Procurement process are changing, Government funding is finite and is becoming far more competitive and hard to secure. SAHSSI has therefore had to be both innovative and strategic in securing additional funds and has done this well. Examples include developing relationships with local businesses – including real estate agents – to secure more properties - raising awareness of domestic violence and its link to homelessness in schools, through participation in forums and special programs and events such as White Ribbon, NAIDOC; collaborating with other organisations to expand the range of services and supports available to SAHSSI clients, conducting community fundraising events and now developing strategies to engage with the philanthropic sector.  Finally, and perhaps most importantly, in SAHSSI’s most recent independent client survey, clients, perhaps not surprisingly, had nothing but exceptional praise for SASSHI. Clients referred to SAHSSI staff as ‘professional friends’ who maintained appropriate boundaries, but were known to ‘go the extra mile’ to ensure a positive and sustainable outcome for their clients.