Northern and Western specific guidelines

North and West Homelessness Networks Practice Guide

This manual outlines the agreed arrangements for access to, and coordination of, the homelessness service system in Melbourne’s north and west.

This manual is designed for staff of homelessness assistance services funded through the Department of Health and Human Services.

The purpose of this manual is to document the various policies, guidelines and practice issues that pertain to the coordinated operation of the homelessness service system in Melbourne’s north and west. The service system arrangements outlined in this manual have been developed by the Northern and Western Homelessness Local Area Service Networks (LASNs) to operationalise the Opening Doors Framework.

The LASNs continues to monitor and develop coordinated approaches to service system operation. As the LASNs further develops its shared practice and procedures sections of this manual will be added to and/or replaced.

Transitional housing and the Housing and Support Partnership Agreement

The Transitional Housing Management Program (THMP) is a Victorian Government funded response for people who are experiencing homelessness and who require a period of supported, stable housing whilst they seek long term housing and address any issues that may impact on the stability of future housing options.

Transitional housing provides people with an opportunity to:

  • recover from or avoid experiences of homelessness, trauma or family violence
  • address support related issues develop and implement a plan to achieve stable, long term housing
  • learn how to exercise their rights and responsibilities under the Residential Tenancies Act (RTA), and
  • succeed in sustaining a tenancy.

Transitional housing tenancies combine short to medium term accommodation, managed under the provisions of the RTA by a Transitional Housing Manager (THM), with case management support provided by an accredited support provider.

Eligibility for, and access to, transitional housing is guided by the Homelessness Assistance Program Guidelines and Conditions of Funding 2006-2009, specifically Section 3.2.1. Principles for Access (outlined in both Section 1 and 2) and determined by the allocation arrangements outlined in the North and West Homelessness Network Practice Manual, Sections 7.6 and 12.3.

Transitional housing is a scarce resource and collaborative and effective work practice is essential for ensuring that is utilised efficiently and fairly, for both those tenants currently utilising the resource and for those many individuals and families who are in need of it.

The housing and case management support provided by support agencies is critical to tenants moving out of homelessness into stable housing. This Partnership Agreement outlines the responsibilities of the support provider, tenancy worker and tenant in managing a transitional housing tenancy. 

Information for transitional housing tenants

The attached pamphlet provides prospective transitional housing tenants with information about transitional housing and includes space for them to sign an agreement to the tenancy conditions of a transitional housing tenancy. 

Family Violence Entry Point/Homelessness Access Point Protocol

This Protocol guides cross referrals between Berry Street and Women's Health West Family Violence Services and the five homelessness access points in Melbourne's north and west. 

The Protocol is being revised to include referral arrangements to and from Safe Steps, the women's refuges and Frontyard Melbourne Youth Support Service. The updated document should be available in ealry 2019.  In addition a Protocol document is under development with the Pilot Orange Door in the North East. 

Brief Task Based Response

More people present to the Homelessness Service System in Melbourne’s north and west than can be supported by the system. Brief Task Based Response (previously known as Interim Response 2) has been developed in response to increase the numbers of people that can be meaningfully assisted by the homelessness service system, and prevent the escalation of need by providing timely assistance.

Brief Task Based Response is designed to either:

a) divert clients away from the homelessness service system where appropriate(Diversion); or

b) contain acute crises until more appropriate resources become available (Crisis Intervention).

Cross catchment HEF guidelines

HEF is a very limited resource. The access point services managing HEF work together to coordinate allocation of HEF to consumers.  The access point services developed the attached document to guide that coordination.  

Allocation of HEF is the only instance in which access point services will consider a consumer's usual area of residence - in order to coordinate with the access point in that area.