A partnership between Homelessness NSW,
Domestic Violence NSW and Yfoundations

Program - Centralised Intake, Assessment and Brief Intervention at Yes Unlimited

Excellence in Ending Homelessness - Diverse Groups Nominee

Program - Centralised Intake, Assessment and Brief Intervention at Yes Unlimited

Please give your reasons for nominating this program.

Following the GHSH reform, YES Unlimited initiated a local system change process and subsequently implemented a successful Centralised Intake, Assessment and Brief Intervention (CIAB) model. Unlike the previous disjointed program-based responses, the new model allows for a system wide response to individual client need; where the old question was “is this client eligible for this service” the new question is “how can the system meet the needs of the client”.
The CIAB is a single site ‘1 number 1 location’ model with outreach and phone-based appointments as required. Fundamental to the capacity to provide every person with an immediate response is the built in brief intervention element of the model and the complimentary welcome worker model. This allows the CIAB team to triage; for urgency and complexity and assess for diversion or admission, provide an immediate brief intervention response or activate elements of the wider system as needed.
Although there was a strong commitment to collaboration in the previous service context, responses were program based and service provision was disjointed; essentially clients would only receive what each service had to offer rather than what the entire system could provide. The CIAB Model provides a mechanism for the services to work as a system of shared resources with the capacity to bend around the client.  
The CIAB model is underpinned by the principal of “progressive engagement”, escalating the level of service response for clients as needed. This has established significant efficiencies in service delivery, providing the capacity to operate a ‘no turn away’ system; previously services often had waiting lists. Working as a system means our resources are shared, and the system can flex and stretch based on the demand at any given time allowing the response to not only be rapid but also the best fit for each client.

What outcomes were delivered as a result of this program?

Some of the outcomes of implementing the CIAB model include; vastly improved access to services (one number, one primary access point, one assessment of immediate need); zero ‘turn-away’ (everyone in need has been provided with a tailored service response), a significant increase in number of individuals and families being provided with assistance.
2017 data highlighted the expansion of access created by the model with approximately 25% of people accessing the service identifying as Aboriginal or Torres Straight Islander along with people from backgrounds as far and wide as Kyrgyzstan, Zimbabwe, Romania, Peru, Bhutan, Bangladesh and Russia. The reasons people access the service are also wide ranging with 50% of people indicating a mental health condition and over 30% in housing crisis. 40% of new clients had self-referred or were recommended by friends or family, a nod to Yes Unlimited’s strong community reputation and welcoming service.
Other benefits of bringing together service responses into one cohesive system in Albury have included; increased options and choice for clients, flexibility in creating tailored service responses, service accountability and the capacity to track clients through the system along with the ability to identify and address service gaps and trends.

Reference statement:

Kelly Shields

FACS Housing Albury work closely and collaboratively with YES Unlimited and particularly the Centralised Intake, Assessment and Brief Intervention team in supporting people who are experiencing homelessness in our region.
Our experience of the Centralised Intake and Brief Intervention model has been overwhelmingly positive particularly in terms of accessibility for staff and clients through simplifying the process of navigating the system and offering one entry point; 1 number, 1 location. In addition to this the model allows YES Unlimited to utilise resources in a way that offers the best fit for clients and allows responses to be flexible, structuring the system around the client to provide an individualised response as well as the provision of an immediate response and built in brief intervention, meaning no waiting list.
To compliment this, the revamped space is open and friendly providing a safe and consistent response to people accessing the service, the staff are welcoming and knowledgeable and always open to working out creative and collaborative solutions.
YES Unlimited’s willingness to think big picture and to lead within the sector has led to significant system wide change and collaboration which is having a meaningful impact on client outcomes.
I am honoured to support this nomination for a Good Practice Award in ending homelessness-diverse groups, as I believe that YES Unlimited are committed to continuous improvement in working towards their goal of future generations without homelessness and I firmly believe that the Centralised Intake and Assessment Model is achieving exceptional outcomes for clients.