HRSAP was published in January 2018. It provides a framework for reducing the incidence and impact of rough sleeping in Victoria within the context of four key themes. These include, intervening early to prevent homelessness, providing stable accommodation as quickly as possible, support to maintain stable accommodation and providing an effective and responsive homelessness and support service system.
In 2018, the HRSAP was funded $45.5 million as a long-term strategy to reduce the incidence and impacts of homelessness in Victoria. It included funding for nine Assertive Outreach Teams and five Supportive Housing Teams, delivered by seven providers.
Assertive Outreach Teams will assist 1,459 people each year, by actively engaging people experiencing entrenched forms of homelessness and disengagement with social services to assist people into housing, and to connect with specialist services and community. Supportive Housing Teams will assist 637 people each year, by providing intensive support to people making the transition from chronic homelessness and rough sleeping to support their placement into longer term housing, and to assist them to maintain this housing.
The preferred approach to resolving chronic rough sleeping and long-term homelessness is assertive outreach and a Housing First pathway. Housing First is based on the premise of housing people quickly without any requirements of being housing ready (such as having independent living skills or clinical support), but also providing ongoing support to maintain a tenancy.
Assertive outreach is an active and persistent approach by workers to find and engage with rough sleepers or people experiencing homelessness where they sleep or frequent, to establish a relationship of trust and provide the information and practical support necessary for them to transition from homelessness to stable housing and social reconnection.
Other services established under the Action Plan include modular units accompanied by support, and funding for the Council to Homeless Persons for a Rough Sleeping Senior Practitioner role to deliver assertive outreach training and capacity building to assertive outreach and supportive housing teams.
For more information, guidelines for the Homelessness and Rough Sleeping Action Plan can be found on the Funded Agency Channel site <https://fac.dhhs.vic.gov.au/policies-and-procedures>. They outline the objectives and requirements of: assertive outreach and supportive housing teams and aim to ensure quality and consistency in the delivery and practice response across the state.