A partnership between Homelessness NSW,
Domestic Violence NSW and Yfoundations

Program - Connecting Home Adult Program at Social Futures

Excellence in Ending Homelessness - Adults Nominee

Program - Connecting Home Adult Program at Social Futures

Please give your reasons for nominating this program.

Our Connecting Home Adult Team (CHA) thrives even under the most challenging of circumstances. Not thwarted by obstacles, CHA build ladders to surmount them. Innovations include:
An innovative service model with a first response team to solve minor issues and/or offer assistance before a situation escalates, meaning more people stay safely housed. Those requiring further assistance are referred to our outreach team for concentrated care. In a region with little exit housing, limited transport and the second highest number of rough sleepers in the State, CHA consistently exceed KPIs.
A partnership with Splendour in the Grass, a music festival attracting 25,000 people. CHA, in collaboration with OTCP and The Winsome, pitched an idea to Splendour to recycle a multitude of camping gear abandoned after the festival.
Homelessness Connect –a day of community, compassion and practical support this event provides an avenue for community members to care for its most disadvantaged. People donate items, time or skills, e.g. haircuts, massages etc. Free lunch is provided and access to services e.g. Family Planning, housing, legal specialists, Centrelink and community service organisations.
Foot in the Door – A CHA program encouraging our local community housing provider to lease a property in their name for 6 months, giving the tenant a chance to prove themselves capable. CHA pays the bond and provides support to maintain the tenancy. After 6 mths the lease transfers into the tenants name securing them both sustained housing and a rental record. Tenants repay the bond which is used for the next property.
Trauma Informed Real Estate Training (TIRET) aids estate agents’ understanding of people with complex needs, providing information and services to help their tenants if required. TIRET encourages agents to consider a wider range of applicants, where previously people with challenging needs may have been automatically excluded.

What outcomes were delivered as a result of this program?

Splendour partnership: High quality camping gear destined for landfill, is collected, cleaned and redistributed to people in need. A good outcome for rough sleepers (our region has the second highest number in NSW), and a fantastic environmental outcome. Splendour embraces this initiative advertising it to festival goers. This, in addition to strong media coverage, helps bring the issue of homelessness to new audiences.
Homelessness Connect Outcomes: A heart filled day of connection, it has been embraced wholeheartedly by community. Since 2016, CHA has brought on partners from local business, community and government, holding an extra event in Casino (2017) with plans to include Ballina (2018). Positive media and good will is generated, educating community to see homelessness in a new light, one we can all work to solve. Donations have grown significantly.
Foot in the Door - All program participants successfully transferred into their own lease and now have a secure home and rental record.
Trauma Informed Real Estate Training was officially recognised by our program funder as an innovative program. It was presented at Homelessness NSW Forum and two areas (Central Coast and Wentworth Housing) are replicating the program.

Reference statement:

Paul Murphy

The Winsome is a transitional housing provider in Lismore NSW and has partnered with Connecting Home on a number of their initiatives to combat homelessness. One such initiative, the Homelessness Connect Day has been an extremely successful initiative that is growing every year and we are very pleased to partner with Connecting Home in this Day.
The Connecting Home Adult Program with their triage system of first responders ensures less complex issues are dealt with quickly, reducing trauma and potential escalation to more serious problems. By supporting people who are at risk of losing their tenancy at an early stage, the First Response team are helping to keep people housed, in turn reducing pressure on an already crowded social housing space. 
The work of the Connecting Home team is remarkable, particularly given the magnitude of homelessness in our region and the scarcity of available affordable housing options. In my dealings with Connecting Home I have found the team to be a cohesive and passionate group of people who work effectively and with sensitivity to support the homeless and our region’s many rough sleepers.
I personally congratulate them on their efforts and wish them success in their nomination for this award which in my opinion, they richly deserve.