Northern Territory: Annual Report 2009-10: National Partnership Agreement on Homelessness

Northern Territory Government Department of Housing, Local Government and Regional Services
Annual Report 2009-2010


Northern Territory Homelessness Implementation Plan




Introduction

Background

The National Partnership Agreement on Homelessness (NPAH) was agreed by the Council of Australian Governments (COAG) in December 2008.  The NPAH provides additional investment to achieve outcomes that reduce repeat homelessness and rough sleeping, increases access to sustainable housing, and improves social inclusion of homeless people and people at risk of homelessness.

Under the NPAH, the Northern Territory will receive approximately $25.5 million in Commonwealth funding over five years, which will be matched with Northern Territory Government funding of $29.389 million.

The Northern Territory’s Homelessness Implementation Plan (NTHIP) was approved by the Commonwealth Minister for Housing on 27 August 2009.

Context

The Northern Territory has the highest rate of homelessness in Australia at 248 per 10 000 people (ABS 2006 Census).  The Commonwealth Counting the Homeless 2006 report shows that while homeless rates vary dramatically across the Territory, the rate of homelessness in all locations in the Northern Territory vastly exceeds the Australian average of 53 homeless people per 10 000. 

Indigenous people comprise 30 per cent of the Territory’s population (ABS Census 2006) and the high rate of homelessness in the Northern Territory can be largely attributed to this group. The rate of non-Indigenous homelessness in the Northern Territory is also very high, at 35 per 10 000 people.

Remoteness and the significant shortage of affordable housing stock, both rental and purchase, contribute to the higher rate of homelessness in the Territory. Compounding factors that increase the rate of homelessness include the limited presence of services in remote areas; overcrowding and high numbers of people residing in unsafe housing; long waiting times for public housing in urban areas; and the apparent migration of Indigenous people to urban areas. These people often live rough, stay in temporary accommodation or with family or friends.

The NPAH is a relatively small part of the response to homelessness and specialist homelessness services (formerly the Supported Accommodation Assistance Program) are now funded under the NAHA.

Outcomes

The NPAH contributes to the following outcomes:

  • fewer people will become homeless and fewer of these will sleep rough
  • fewer people will become homeless more than once
  • people at risk of experiencing homelessness will maintain or improve connections with their families and communities, and maintain or improve their education, training or employment participation
  • people at risk of or experiencing homelessness will be supported by quality services, with improved access to sustainable housing.

Performance Benchmarks

The Northern Territory benchmarks are aligned to the national performance benchmarks to be achieved by 2013. 

By achieving the targets for both rough sleepers and Indigenous homelessness, the Territory will exceed its target of a total reduction of homelessness by 7 per cent or 334 people.

Table 1.1 Performance Targets by Percentage and Number
Target Group Number of Homeless Persons (2006 Census data) Target Reduction Percentage by 2013 Target Number (persons) by 2013
Indigenous 1652 33.33% 551
Rough Sleepers 1588 25% 397
Overall 4785 7% 334

Reporting

Three agencies - the Departments of Housing, Local Government and Regional Services (DHLGRS), Justice (DOJ) and Health and Families (DHF) are responsible for implementing specific projects / programs under the NTHIP across the Territory.  The process of consulting, developing and implementing funding arrangements within each agency differs and there is no single reporting mechanism for service providers.

Reporting timeframes do not currently align with the NTHIP reporting requirements. For example, data from service providers engaged through DHF, is received twice a year, in February and in October. It is anticipated that the implementation of the National Minimum Data set will resolve these reporting challenges for 2011-2012 and 2012-13.

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Progress Report

A Place to call home

Project Description

The A Place to Call Home (APTCH) project is a joint initiative between the Australian, State and Territory governments to build 600 new homes across Australia to assist individuals and families experiencing homelessness.

People assisted under APTCH move directly into permanent housing.  Households receive tenancy and other support services for the first 12 months to help address issues that led to homelessness and support reintegration with the broader community.  Tenants are able to remain in their home at the end of the support periods and become regular public housing tenants.

In the Northern Territory, APTCH is broadly targeted towards individuals or families who are homeless, or at risk of homelessness in the community, with a focus on Indigenous people. Through a head leasing model, non-government organisations will manage tenancies and service provision for the support period.

Under this program Commonwealth funding of $7.84 million will be provided over five years to construct an additional 32 new public housing dwellings.

Location of Project

Northern Territory wide

Target Cohort

Individuals or families who are homeless, at risk of homelessness with a focus on Indigenous people.  People are allocated from the public housing priority wait list.

Lead Agency

DHLGRS

Progress in the Northern Territory

In 2009-10, the Territory placed 10 households into APTCH in the Darwin region, and of these households 70 per cent were Indigenous.  The households will complete the program in approximately June 2011, at which time an assessment of households sustaining a tenancy up to six months from completing the program will be made. Planning commenced in 2009-10 for expansion of the program across all regions from 2010-11.

Core Outputs

APTCH meets NPAH Core Output 16(a) A Place to Call Home.  The program assists those who are homeless, or at risk of homelessness to be placed in a home, and over time achieve sustainable tenancy outcomes through case management and participation in relevant training such as life skills and financial management.

2009-10 Construction of additional 32 public housing dwellings

The 32 public housing dwellings will be built in the suburbs of Bellamack, Tiwi and Zuccoli.  In 2009-10, the Territory undertook the purchase of land in the suburb of Bellamack; this is due for settlement in October 2010.  Land was also identified in the suburb of Tiwi which will be rezoned for multiple dwelling developments.  Construction in Zuccoli is targeted for 2012-2013.

NTHIP Performance Measure
Project Title Performance Measure

 

Achievement in 2009-10

 

A Place to Call Home 10 Households Participating in APTCH 10 households participating in the program
80% of households are Indigenous 70% of households are Indigenous
70% of households sustain a tenancy 6 months after completing the program. Not able to measure at this time.

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Youth Development Crisis Accommodation - Tennent Creek

Project Description

This program provides youth accommodation services to assist young Indigenous people to access secure accommodation, attend school or training, remain engaged with family and receive the necessary support to build life skills.

Accommodation is provided in two houses set aside in Mulga Camp in Tennant Creek. Provision is contingent on the young people being identified as homeless or at risk of homelessness, and their agreement to engage in work, training or education.

Location of Project

Tennant Creek

Target Cohort

Youth

Lead Agency

DHF

Progress in the Northern Territory

In 2009-10, 64 Indigenous youth in Tennant Creek were provided secure and supported accommodation through this initiative.

Core Outputs

This program meets NPAH Core Output 16 (b) Street to Home Initiatives for chronically homeless people (rough sleepers).  

This service accepts young Indigenous people that would otherwise be sleeping rough or in improvised accommodation in the Tennant Creek area, to provide a secure and safe sleeping environment which will link to education and other life skills training, as well as to assist in supporting re-engagement with family.

NTHIP Performance Measure
Project Title Performance Measure Achievement in 2009-10
Youth Development Crisis Accommodation – Tennant Creek 50 Indigenous youth are provided with secure and supported accommodation 64 Indigenous youth were provided secure and supported accommodation

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Street to Home Initiatives for Chronic Homeless People

Project Description

An expression of interest process was undertaken to fund non-government providers to deliver Street to Home initiatives for chronic homeless people (rough sleepers). Four initiatives were successful.

Location of Project

Darwin and Alice Springs

Target Cohort

Adult males, mental illness, rough sleepers and homeless people

Lead Agencies

DHLGRS and DHF

Table 2.1 Street to Home projects successful for funding in 2009-2010
Organisation 2009-2010 Funding Purpose Status
(as at end 2009-10)
St Vincent de Paul Society (SVDP) $882 162 To construct and manage 10 rooms for transitional accommodation targeted at adult males from the Territory Housing Priority Wait list. Construction has commenced and is anticipated to be completed by end November 2010.

 

Mental Health Association of Central Australia (MHACA) $247 705 To provide crisis accommodation and intensive support to enable participants to transition to conventional accommodation. This service will provide two beds in a hostel plus two one-bedroom units and one two-bedroom unit for people at risk of becoming homeless due to mental illness. MHACA has been approved use of three Industry Housing Assistance Scheme dwellings through the Northern Territory Government and is working with DHLGRS to identify appropriately located dwellings. MHACA will commence recruitment from October 2010.
Salvation Army Red Shield Hostel

 

$45 000

To employ a part-time case worker to work with clients and conduct an outreach program at the Red Shied Hostel in Darwin.

 

Part-time case worker employed and service delivery commenced in February 2010. 

 

YMCA of the Top End Incorporated

 

$998 092

To repair and upgrade the Doctors Gully Hostel. 

 

The project will retain 63 rooms and make available a further 15 rooms and refurbish a two-bedroom flat and a three-bedroom house.

 

Refurbishments to the facility have commenced and are anticipated to be completed by end of November 2010.

 

2009-10 progress in the Northern Territory

All initiatives commenced in 2009-10 with construction components to be completed early in 2010-11.

Core Outputs

This program meets NPAH Core Output 16 (b) Street to Home Initiatives for chronically homeless people (rough sleepers).   Initiatives will also meet additional outputs 17(b), 17(c), 17(g), 17(i) and 17(j).

 

NTHIP Performance Measure
Project Title Performance Measure Achievement in 2009-10
Expressions of Interest to identify Street to Home Initiatives for Chronic Homeless People Performance measures will be developed for each funded proposal Expression of interest process for Street to Home Initiatives completed. Individual funding and service agreements outline performance measures for each initiative.

Case Studies

St Vincent de Paul Society  – STH Project at the Bakhita Centre

The St Vincent de Paul Society  is funded to increase the capacity of its 25 bed mens accommodation village in Darwin by an additional 10 beds. This is a unique project that will become an integral part of St Vincent de Paul homeless strategy for the Northern Territory.

In Darwin a homeless person could be living rough for years before being housed. Being thrust directly from homelessness into housing can often lead to a failure of the resident to maintain tenancy. This facility will enable homeless people to transition into public housing in a manner that will lead to more sustainable outcomes for the tenant and the landlord. During the course of their 12 month lease, residents will develop the skills and acquire the belongings to enable the best start possible when they transition into mainstream accommodation.

This project is also unique in that homeless men are involved in the construction. The first intake of residents will possibly be the very homeless men who built the building. We are well underway in gathering a data base of suitable men and their skills that are willing to get involved in this exciting project.

This initiative, with the support from government, originally intended to simply get homeless people off the streets has become a project that will build self esteem, create opportunities for employment and go a long way to help build successful and sustainable mainstream tenancies.  This is a link in the chain between crisis support and mainstream living.

Date: September 2010

YMCA of the Top End Incorporated – Doctors Gully Hostel Refurbishment and Rebuild

Resident – “the lighting in the common area’s has improved greatly and reduced hazards” ‘Caleb’ the Operations Manager – “the new kitchen and upgraded seating area has helped with the social interaction of tenants” ‘Peter’ the Accommodation Manager – “the roof renovation has increased our capacity to cater for low income tenants by 20 per cent. The repairs to the unit will allow us to cater for traveling groups of people with minor disabilities”

Date: September 2010

YMCA photos

Salvation Army – STH Project at the Red Shield Hostel in Darwin

Client T exited jail and transitioned into homelessness. Due to T’s poor literacy and numeracy skills he was unable to seek help, understand or access government services. T was supported by the Salvation Army caseworker funded under STH to attend anger management classes, start proceedings to gain access to his child through the family law system, and attend to his health issues.

By working closely together through this program, T has been able to secure a private rental property. Support services continue to be provided by the caseworker.

Date: June 2010

YMCA photos

Left: House bathroom before     Right: Flat bathroom after

house bathroom - beforeflat bathroom after

Left: House kitchen before     Right: House kitchen after

house kitchen beforehouse kitchen after

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Palmerston Youth Crisis Accommodation

Project Description

This project will provide emergency accommodation in the Palmerston area for young people. Where appropriate, this service will also work to reunify young people with their families and ensure they are linked to other supports such as education, training, alcohol and other drugs services, living skills and counseling.

Location of Project

Palmerston

Target Cohort

Initially 10 to 14 year olds, however now two models have been developed to provide a service to youth aged between 12 to 15 and 15 to 19 years.

Lead Agency

DHF

Anticipated Start Date

2010-11

Service Provider

DHF

Progress in the Northern Territory

Challenges to this model were identified and validated through stakeholder feedback regarding the capacity of one service model to respond to the differing needs across the target group; statutory care issues regarding the younger members of the target group; and accessing suitable capital infrastructure from which viable crisis services can operate.  As a response to these concerns DHF has developed two service models that will address the different needs of two age groups, 12 to15 year olds and 15 to 19 year olds. 

An emergency accommodation and transition service for 12 to 15 year olds will be put out to tender in the first half of 2010-11.  The service will provide children with temporary safe accommodation while working to return them home to their families where possible or into alternative care arrangements. 

The model proposed for the 15 to 19 year olds is a medium to long term transitional accommodation and case management service.  This service aims to provide young people who are homeless or at risk with access to stable accommodation and helping them to engage in employment, education or training This service will go out to tender in 2010-11.

Core Outputs

This program meets NPAH Core Output 16(b) Street to Home Initiatives for chronically homeless people (rough sleepers).   It will also meet additional outputs 17(d), 17(i) and 17(j).

NTHIP Performance Measure
Project Title Performance Measure Achievement in 2009-10
Palmerston Youth Crisis Accommodation 15 Indigenous youth are provided with secure and supported accommodation. Revision of the service model to address children aged 12 to 15, or 15 to 19 consistent with the concerns raised by the non-government sector.

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Tenancy sustainability program

Project Description

This initiative will expand DHLGRS Territory Housing’s Tenancy Sustainability Program (TSP) which provides intensive case management and life skills training to public housing tenants and applicants, as well as residents of Community Living Areas (Town Camps), who require assistance to manage and sustain their tenancies.

Location of Project

Darwin, Katherine, Alice Springs and Tennant Creek

Target Cohort

Public housing applicants and tenants, residents of Town Camps who require assistance to manage and sustain their tenancies.

Lead Agency

DHLGRS

Anticipated Start

July 2009

Service Provider

CatholicCare NT (Darwin and Katherine public housing), Larrakia Nation Aboriginal Corporation (Darwin Town Camps), Anglicare NT (Alice Springs), Tangentyere Council (Alice Springs Town Camps)

Progress in the Northern Territory

In 2009-2010 an evaluation of the TSP was undertaken to inform the expansion of the program.

Expansion of the program comprises:

  • extension to Tennant Creek for both public housing and Town Camp tenants
  • an additional case-worker in Katherine, specifically for Town Camps tenants
  • two additional case-workers in Alice Springs, specifically for Town Camps tenants
  • two additional case-workers in Alice Springs, specifically for public housing tenants
  • an additional coordinator, half-time administration and case-worker in Darwin
    specifically for public housing tenants.

DHLGRS has convened a Tenancy Sustainability Coordination Group to progress the expansion. The Coordination Group will establish consistent reporting across the four regions, and implement ongoing training and support for service providers.

Core Outputs

This program meets NPAH Core Output 16(c) Support for private and public tenants to help sustain their tenancies, including through tenancy support, advocacy, case management, financial counseling and referral services.   It also meets additional outputs 17(a), 17(g), 17(i) and 17(j).

NTHIP Performance Measure
Project Title Performance Measure Achievement in 2009-10
Darwin public housing  tenants -  CatholicCare NT How many TSP clients evicted from public housing? 4 out of 19 clients
What proportion of people participating in the TSP program were Indigenous? 78%
Darwin  Town Camp residents –  Larrakia Nation Aboriginal Corporation How many TSP clients evicted from public housing? No clients evicted
What proportion of people participating in the TSP program were Indigenous? 100%
Katherine public housing tenants-   CatholicCare NT How many TSP clients evicted from public housing? No TSP clients evicted
What proportion of people participating in the TSP program were Indigenous? 97%
Alice Springs town camp  residents – Tangentyere Council Inc. How many TSP clients evicted from public housing? No clients evicted
What proportion of people participating in the TSP program were Indigenous? 100%
Alice Springs public housing tenants – Anglicare NT How many TSP clients evicted from public housing? Less than 4% of 108 clients
What proportion of people participating in the TSP program were Indigenous? 98%
TOTAL Reduction in proportion of people evicted from public housing? Less than 8 clients evicted out of 127 clients participating in the program in both Alice Springs and Darwin Public Housing
Total Number of Clients Participated in TSP Darwin Public Housing 
Darwin Town Camps               
Katherine Public Housing     
Alice Springs Town Camps                 
Alice Springs Public Housing  
Total                                             
 97
46
 31
 50
153
377
Average proportion of clients participating in TSP that were Indigenous 95%

Case Studies


Anglicare NT - TSP case study, Alice Springs Public Housing

Client K heads her family which consists of her three daughters and grandchildren.  One daughter is disabled.  K has considerable demands on her time including work commitments, study, supporting her disabled daughter, caring for grandchildren, maintaining her home and meeting other family obligations. K was referred to TSP after her tenancy was jeopardised due to a number of significant concerns including rental arrears and damage to property.

Both K and one of her daughters are in full-time employment. Therefore they are ineligible for rental rebate for their Territory Housing property.

Anglicare NT adopts a strengths-focused approach which worked particularly well in supporting this family.  The TSP case manager spent time engaging the clients to develop a strong and effective working relationship with the primary client, and her family.

In case planning it was identified that K would benefit most from training in Life Skills, Module One, which focuses on money management.   Through this training and with additional support, K was able to enter “Agreements to Pay” to address her debt. K demonstrated commitment in meeting her repayments.  However a further setback occurred during the support period when K became the victim of “intra-family feud”.  The windows of K’s dwelling were smashed and further damage occurred.

K and her family were traumatised by this event and fearful for their safety.   Due to her concern of further repercussions, K was reluctant to report the matter to police.  Because of her unwillingness to take legal action, K became responsible for replacing the windows, thus accruing additional debt. This further exacerbated risk to her tenancy.

Whilst the focus of TSP is primarily on Life skills training, the program provided a flexible and responsive approach in supporting K in dealing with this crisis.  The TSP case manager provided additional support to the family, offering counseling, trying to obtain temporary alternative accommodation and providing a mentoring role. 

TSP continued to support and mentor K in her endeavour to become debt free as well as providing support and encouragement in various ways to address other issues.  For example, on one occasion when K was dealing with “intra-family feud” she had an excessive number of visitors.  This resulted in a large amount of accumulated rubbish.   TSP conducted an “incentive dump run”, removing the rubbish from the property.

K continued to repay her debts. She was referred by TSP to Anglicare NT’s Financial Counseling Services where she has accessed a NILS (No Interest Loan Scheme) loan to purchase household goods.  As well as being able to obtain some useful items, the loan has enabled K to develop further skills in managing her finances relating to budgeting and loan repayments.

When referred to TSP the primary risks to this family’s tenancy were rental arrears and “damage to property”.  These issues have been resolved, with the arrears having been paid and the debt accrued due to damages being repaid.  The program supported K to address these concerns which resulted in her tenancy being sustained, a welcome outcome for the family, and for Territory Housing, and particularly the Tenancy Officer!

K is greatly relieved that her situation has stabilised and she is able to provide a more secure and nurturing environment for her family.  This is reflected in the grandchildren who are thriving and the older ones attending school.  The case manager has observed increased confidence and optimism in K as she has managed to gain more control over her own life.  K and one of her daughters are now exploring the possibility of purchasing their own home.

A considerable amount of practical support and training has been provided to this family.  However, perhaps equally important has been the model of service delivery which was strengths-based, flexible and responsive, culminating in a very positive outcome.

Date: September 2010

Larrakia National Aboriginal Corporation - TSP case study, Darwin town camp

Client L referred herself to TSP after we explained to her what the program was about.  L had a poor understanding of how to pay her utility bills and was unsure of the amount she was to pay per fortnight to the housing provider. As a result, L’s power had been cut off many times due to the bill not being paid.

Through TSP we have linked L to Centrelink and supported her to put in place arrangements to have bills paid directly from her Centrelink income. She is now paying her bills on time.

Damage to the dwelling was another major issue that has been dealt with through TSP. Visitors were coming in and damaging L’s property. TSP supported L to obtain a police report. She now understands that the police report can be given to the housing provider to explain damage caused by other people.

L’s house is overcrowded due to assuming guardianship and responsibility for her grandchildren who have been placed in her care. Support has been given to her daughter to lodge a housing application for her own house in the community to help ease the overcrowding.

When we first visited this client her yard was very untidy with a lot of rubbish lying around. TSP sat with client to explain to her that this was not very healthy for all the children and herself. L has since started to tidy her yard up on a regular basis. The children have also begun to help. She has also contacted the housing provider to have old car body’s she has in her yard removed.

Four weeks after TSP commenced informal discussions with L, she was formally referred to the program by the housing provider. The housing providers reasons for referral: 20+ people living in her house; a lot of visitors coming and going; unkempt house and property; and significant maintenance issues. We have already assisted L in these areas.

L has said that she now wants to improve her living skills to make her house more healthy and hygienic for herself and her family. We will be visiting this client on a regular basis to assist her with the needs she requires to help her to reach her goal. In doing so, we will provide her with necessary training under our life skills modules and practical hands on demonstrations.

Date: November 2009

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Assistance for people leaving correctional services

Project Description

This initiative targets people exiting prison and juvenile detention.  The key aim of the program is enable a smooth re-integration into the community with a case management model which builds on the strengths of participants to assist people to overcome barriers to re-integration and reduce re-offending behaviour.

The service is provided either pre-release, at prison or detention centre, on the street or as required.  The service will facilitate the development of re-integration plans, and encourage the active involvement of clients, their families and other significant support networks and agencies in finding suitable accommodation and support services.

Location of Project

Darwin and Alice Springs

Target Cohort

Juveniles, young and adult males

Lead Agency

DOJ

Start Date

February 2010

Service Provider

Mission Australia Ltd

Progress in the Northern Territory

Mission Australia is the service provider for this project.  The service has been successful in providing comprehensive post release plans and practical support to persons on their release from prison or detention.  A particular strength of this service is that it does not focus solely on providing accommodation but focuses on facilitating an effective transition from prison to supported community participation.

Core Outputs

This program meets NPAH Core Output 16(d) Assistance for people leaving child protection services, correctional and health facilities to access and maintain stable, affordable housing.  This project also meets the NPAH additional outputs 17(i) and 17(k). 

NTHIP Performance Measure
Project title Performance Measure Achievement in 2009-10
Assistance for people leaving correctional services 100% proportion of sentence plans / case plans incorporate post-release plans. 100% of 53 clients in 2009-2010 received sentence plans/case plans incorporated in post release plans
  100% proportion of clients referred to continuing education, training or employment post release. 88.8% referred to continuing education, training or employment post release, but 100% of clients referred to appropriate support services that are not limited to education, employment and training.

Case Studies

Mission Australia - Assistance for People Leaving Correctional Services Program

The first client of the Alice Springs program was successfully assisted to relocate to South Australia to take up training. This excited client has since rung and thanked Mission Australia for their assistance and has indicated he is progressing and will be looking to secure work back in Alice Springs after completing his training.

Date: May 2010


Mission Australia - Assistance for People Leaving Correctional Services Program

A participant was released from the Darwin Correctional Centre and assisted in Darwin with accommodation and family relationship and child custody issues. He was then assisted to transfer from Darwin to the Alice Springs service to attend to child custody issues. The participant will return to his remote community while waiting for his Territory Housing accommodation. Participant has requested assistance to access training while back in Yuendumu. PRSS Case Manager is sourcing the best means and service organisation to assist and see through the participants training needs in his remote community. This positive outcome is a result of the coordination efforts between Darwin and Alice Springs services.

Date: May 2010

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Develop program to respond to needs of high risk youth

Project Description

This initiative will develop program specification to respond to the needs of high risk youth in Alice Springs and Darwin.  These young people currently fall through the gaps in between different services.  The program development will incorporate findings from an evaluation to be conducted of an effective program in Tennant Creek.  Through this project, the Department of Health and Families will work with the provider of Tennant Creek Youth Development Crisis Accommodation Program to evaluate that program to inform the development of similar programs in Alice Springs and Darwin.

This project will also incorporate a qualitative study to track specific high risk young people through the justice, health , education and child protection systems to identify their pathways across these ‘systems’.  A better understanding of these pathways will assist in the design of a service that responds to the needs of these young people.

Location of Project

Darwin and Alice Springs

Target Cohort

Youth

Lead Agency

DHF

Service Provider

DHF

Progress in the Northern Territory

Initially recruitment of Project Officer to undertake this project was difficult and DHF was unable to successfully fill the position. After further consideration this project was discontinued on the basis that similar initiatives were commenced by the Territory and Commonwealth Governments in Darwin and Alice Springs in 2009-10.

Core Outputs

This program meets NPAH additional output 17(e) Improvements in service coordination and provision.

NTHIP Performance Measure
Project Title; Performance Measure Achievement in 2009-10
Develop a program to respond to the needs of high risk youth Development of a program to respond to needs of high risk youth in Alice Springs and Darwin. This initiative was addressed through the Palmerston Youth Crisis Accommodation specifications. There have also been independent responses to youth homelessness in Alice Springs partly through the Alice Springs Transformation Plan. As this initiative is no longer required, program funding will be redirected into other youth services under the NTHIP going forward.

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Service coordination system

Project Description

This project will develop a housing and homelessness service coordination mechanism that links clients and providers in the Darwin region.  It will identify the information management, information technology and practical coordination requirements for a Service Coordination System that provides real time information on the availability of existing services for clients in the Darwin and Palmerston region, with the potential for expansion to other centres.  Involving government agencies and non-government service providers, the project will lead to better outcomes for clients through improvements in service coordination.

Location of Project

Darwin

Target Cohort

People at risk of homelessness, and homeless people as well as non-government service providers and people seeking employment in this sector

Lead Agency

DHLGRS

Progress in the Northern Territory

An implementation approach for the development of a Service Coordination System was developed in consultation with partner agencies and the non-government sector in 2009-10. 

Key outcomes from consultations identified: a real need for improved client access to community services and focus on achieving outcomes for clients; a mechanism should facilitate but not force referrals between services; a website to facilitate information sharing would be the most appropriate format; scope should not be restricted to supported accommodation within the homelessness sector but should incorporate other homelessness, housing, allied and mainstream services; and potential for the system to be expanded across sectors should be explored.

A system will be rolled out in 2010-11 that includes an online service directory and search fields that enable the user to locate a suitable service.  The mechanism would work through a website portal and could include information such as: a description of services available; eligibility requirements; target client groups; restrictions and guidelines; hours of operation; transport and maps; facilities; accommodation vacancies; available staff; news feed; careers.

The initiative will be more accurately described as a client information and referral mechanism as part of the review of the NTHIP. Linkages will be made with the integrated wait list that is under development for implementation in 2010-1.

Core Outputs

This program meets NPAH additional outputs of 17(e) and 17(i).

NTHIP Performance Measure
Project Title Performance Measure Achievement in 2009-10
Service Coordination System An implementation plan for a Service Coordination System is developed. Implementation Plan finalised for the Service Coordination System, to be rolled out in 2010-11.

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Homeless System Mapping Studies

Project Description

This project aims to develop a place-based understanding of homelessness to underpin regional responses. Through the project, Northern Territory agencies will work with local service providers and local government and Commonwealth agencies to map current services; develop an understanding of the seasonal patterns of homelessness in each place; undertake case studies of homeless people to build an understanding of the different motivations and choices that lead people to access (or not access) particular services in particular places; and develop a better understanding of the various destinations for these homeless people.  This study will contribute to an understanding of patters of Indigenous mobility which will inform better targeting of homelessness and other government services.

Location of Project

Darwin, Maningrida and Katherine

Target Cohort

Homeless people with a focus on Indigenous homelessness

Lead Agency

DHLGRS

Progress in the Northern Territory

The study commenced in 2009-10. Further to consultation with the sector it was deemed appropriate for the project to be renamed as a ‘Homelessness Profile Study’ to better reflect the intent of the initiative, which is to profile patterns of homelessness and Indigenous mobility and map the service delivery response.

Initially the study was to focus on three locations - Darwin, Katherine and Maningrida.  In consideration of extensive work being undertaken in Mangrida under the National Partnership Agreement on Remote Service Delivery to map social and economic indicators and services and prepare place-based plans, the scope of the study has been reconsidered and will now focus on Darwin, Katherine and Alice Springs.

An in-house literature review and service mapping process is well underway with a discussion paper planned to be completed in December 2010. Place-based planning processes will be undertaken in 2010-11.

Diagram showing Timeline for Homelessness Profile Study

timeline for homelessness profile


NTHIP Performance Measure
Project Title Performance Measure Achievement in 2009-10

 

Northern Territory Homeless Profile Study Completion of targeted regional Homelessness Action Plans by
1 February 2011.
Terms of reference finalised, initial consultation with sector commenced and literature review well underway.

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Domestic and Family Violence Support

Project Description

A significant proportion of homeless people in the Northern Territory are victims of domestic and family violence.  Over a third of clients accessing SAAP services in the Territory in 2006-2007 were seeking assistance due to domestic or family violence.  Successful prevention, early intervention and crisis responses to victims of family and domestic violence are essential part of any response to homelessness in the Territory.

DHF is progressing a Family Violence Investment Strategy that delivers $15 million over three years from 2009-10.  This strategy supports the mandatory reporting provisions in the Domestic and Family Violence Act which took effect on 12 March 2009 making the reporting of serious physical harm between people in a domestic relationship mandatory in the Northern Territory.  The Strategy is informed by the implementation of mandatory reporting across the health, community legal an domestic and family violence sectors with a focus on improving service integration and coordination across the government and non-government sector.

The Family Violence Investment Strategy will assist in prevention, early intervention and crisis responses and are informed by service gaps in frontline responses to domestic and family violence, as well as to expand the sector through the provision of some additional accommodation facilities.

Priority themes in the Strategy include prevention, early intervention and crisis responses and are informed by service gaps in frontline responses to domestic and family violence and increasing the capacity of critical service points that respond to serious physical harm.

Initiatives to be progressed include: a significant preventative social marketing campaign that seeks to change attitudes to family violence; a schools based program that creates a safe environment for young people to talk about domestic and family violence and sexual assault; community, legal and domestic and family violence sectors; and expansion of the domestic and family violence crisis accommodation sector; and the establishment of a twenty-four hour telephone counseling service which will connect victims and concerned people to local, trained counselors who will also provide a referral service that is based on a sound working knowledge of the family violence and homelessness service system.

Location of Project

Territory wide

Target Cohort

Children, young people, single adults and families

Lead Agency

DHF

Service Deliverer

Multiple agreements between the Territory and the non-government sector

Progress in the Northern Territory

Key milestones for the Domestic and Family Violence Support program are:

  • Evaluation of mandatory reporting legislation.

    A report will be completed on the impact of amendments to the Domestic and Family Violence Act which requires all adults in the Territory to report to police any domestic and family violence involving serious physical harm.  The report is to be completed within 12 months of commencement of the legislation. 

    Progress:A process to undertake this through an independent evaluation has been endorsed and service specifications are being finalised.

  • Base-line data project (30 June 2011).

    DHF is undertaking to improve the domestic and family violence data collection, recording and analysis across the Territory.  The first stage of this process will involve working jointly with the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) to scope out existing data capacity and develop recommendations to move forward.  An ABS outreach officer will be placed in DHF to undertake these tasks. 

    Progress: An out-posted ABS worker, based in NT Families and Children Services commenced on 22 March 2010.

  • Placement of social workers and Aboriginal liaison officers in the Territory’s five public hospitals.

    Hospital Emergency Departments are a critical entry point into the system for victims of domestic and family violence.  Increase social worker and aboriginal liaison officer numbers in Emergency Departments will improve capacity of staff to meet the high demands to respond to domestic and family violence in the Territory. 

    Progress: Regional specific service models have been developed that meet the needs of each hospital.  They can vary depending on what has previously been implemented, the domestic violence gaps experienced and the practical application of capacity building in each location. Social Workers and Aboriginal Liaison Officers are being recruited.
  • Investment in operational capacity of domestic and family violence shelters across the Territory.

    An increase of funding has been allocated too domestic and family violence shelters across the Territory. 

    Progress: This support is being provided to YMCA, Dawn House, Catherine Booth House, Alice Springs Women’s Shelter, Tennant Creek Women’s Shelter, Gove Crisis Accommodation, DAIWS and Katherine Women’s Shelter.

Core Outputs

This program meets the NPAH core output 16(b) Street to Home initiatives for chronically homeless people (rough sleepers) and additional outputs 17(f), 17(g), 17(i) and 17(l). 

NTHIP Performance Measure
Project Title Performance Measure Achievement in 2009-10h
Domestic and Family Violence 2500 support periods with accommodation.1600 support periods without accommodation. 3000 support periods 1800 support periods.

Notes on data provided against the Domestic and Family Violence performance measures:

  • This data is taken from the most current available source, which is Table 3.1 of the NT Supplementary Tables to the SAAP National Data Collection 2008-2009, AIHW Canberra 2010.
  • The performance measures of this program reflect numbers under both the NPAH and the NAHA.
  • The performance measures against this program will be refocused under the revised NTHIP.

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Young People Leaving Care Program

Project Description

This program assists young people leaving the care system and those who have previously left care of DHF to gain independence by providing linkages to employment, education, housing and other support services in accordance with legislative requirements.  The support provided to young people leaving care encompasses a range of programs and services that relate to accommodation, education and training, employment, legal and health services, and counseling

Transition from care issues for the young person will be articulated in an overarching Leaving Care Plan to find the most appropriate support solutions for the young client.  These plans will be based on the individual needs of the young person leaving care and will be developed in consultation with young clients, DHF caseworkers, and where relevant their carer and other stakeholders including non-government organisations, or other significant people in the young persons life.  Funding is available to assist young people to access support and services and will be directly linked to those issued identified in a young persons Leaving Care Plan.

Location of Project

Territory wide

Target Cohort

Young people

Lead Agency

DHF

Service Deliverer

Anglicare NT

Progress in the Northern Territory

The tender for the program was advertised in April 2010 and Anglicare NT was successful. Prior to the finalisation of the tender process, this program was progressed internally by the NTFC through the employment of a Project Officer in April 2010 to develop the tender specifications for the Young People Leaving Care Program, update the ‘Leaving Care Policy’ and to undertake direct work with NTFC clients who are still in care through the development of leaving care plans with their case managers.

NTFC also granted $5,000 to the CREATE Foundation NT as a contribution to the ‘What’s the Plan’ campaign.  The ‘What’s the Plan’ program assists in preparing young people to move out of care and into independent living.

Core Outputs

This program meets the NPAH core output 16(d) Assistance for people leaving child protection services, correctional and health facilities to access and maintain stable, affordable housing and also additional outputs of 17(d) and 17(i). 

NTHIP Performance Measure
Project Title Performance Measure Achievement in 2009-10
Young people leaving care program 30 new young clients engaged by the service NTFC project officer employed in April 2010 to develop tender specification for program.From April 2010 through to June 2010, 25 clients in care were assisted to develop leaving care plans. Anglicare NT successful for tender and delivering services from October 2010.Funding granted to the CREATE Foundation NT towards the ‘What’s the Plan’ campaign.

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Intervention and Case Management Service

Project Description

Intervention and Case Management Service (ICMS) aims to reduce antisocial behaviour and primary homelessness in Darwin, Palmerston Katherine and Alice Springs regional areas.  The ICMS, principally aimed at Indigenous people sleeping rough in town areas, provides Return to Country, intervention, referral and identification services for homelessness and itinerant people across the Territory.  The ICMS links in with a range of patrolling, rehabilitation and accommodation services provided through the government and non-government sector to assist people living as itinerants and, where appropriate, assist them to return to their home community. ICMS are tailored to regional needs.

Location of Project

Darwin, Palmerston, Katherine and Alice Springs

Target Cohort

Rough Sleepers

Lead Agency

DOJ

Service Deliverer

Larrakia Nation Aboriginal Corporation (Darwin), Mission Australia Ltd (Katherine), Tangentyere Council Inc. (Alice Springs)

Progress in the Northern Territory

The ICMS provides brief interventions and where appropriate case management for people that are homeless or living rough who may be subject to or carrying out antisocial behaviour. People access Return to Country services on a user pays basis, Return to Country services are an integral part of addressing antisocial behaviour. The ICMS through the service provider is able to connect with the client group and where the client is willing, refer the client to accommodation, medical, rehabilitation, welfare, finance, legal or return to country services.

The ICMS also provides local transport services to enable the client group to meet those referral arrangements. The ICMS has seen a steady increase in successful client referrals and travel home over the three years as providers have established themselves and built trust with the client group. The broader Territory community issues such as alcohol abuse and misuse, lack of affordable appropriate housing and community attitudes towards homeless people continue to impact on the viability of service. From 2010-2011, Return to Country and referrals for accommodation data from Katherine and Alice Springs ICMS will be included for the first time.

Core Outputs

This program meets NPAH core output 16(b) Street to Home initiatives for chronically homeless people (rough sleepers) and additional outputs 17(h) and 17(i).

NTHIP Performance Measure
Project Title Performance Measure Achievement in 2009-10
Intervention and Case Management Service 4200 people returned to their home community from Darwin and Palmerston. 3,723 people returned to their home community from Darwin and Palmerston.  Return to country is a voluntary user pays service.  As such people can choose not to return home or may not be able to access the money to return.  This may be some of the reasons behind the 4,200 target not being met.
205 people experiencing primary homelessness in Darwin and Palmerston referred to accommodation. 251 people were referred to accommodation during the year, exceeding the target by 46 people.  This indicates significant effort and connection over the year by the ICMS provider, the accommodation providers and the clients.

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Prison in-reach program

Project Description

The Prison In-Reach Program provides comprehensive alcohol and other drug (AOD) assessments, individual group counseling, and after care referrals to prisoners with AOD problems in the Darwin area.  The program is targeted towards adult or juvenile prisoners at Don Dale and Darwin Correctional Centre with alcohol and or other drug problems who have been sentenced to prison for six months or less, or those who are on remand awaiting trial.  The program offers voluntary group sessions, brief interventions, one-on-one counseling and post-release referral to inmates who would like to access AOD services while incarcerated.  While the program is voluntary, inmates are encouraged to attend the in-reach sessions if their crime is drug or alcohol related.  The program has a strong emphasis on linking people with support and after care services following release.

Location of Project

Darwin

Target Cohort

Adult and juvenile prisoners with alcohol and other drug problems

Lead Agency

DHF, through Alcohol and Other Drugs Program (AODP)

Service Deliverer

DHF, through AODP

Progress in the Northern Territory

This project was established by DHF for delivery to the Darwin correctional facility site to provide comprehensive AOD assessments, individual and group counseling and after care referrals to prisoners with AOD problems. The team is made up of a program coordinator, counselor, psychologist, Indigenous social support worker and a part-time administration officer.

In 2009-10 the Program provided 506 episodes of care and almost all have been for alcohol related assessment, counseling and group work. The average monthly case load was about 42 clients. While the service is for both adults and juveniles, most referrals are for adult offenders.

Core Outputs

This program meets the Core Output: (d) Assistance for people leaving child protection services, correctional and health facilities to access and maintain stable, affordable housing.

NTHIP Performance Measure

NTHIP Performance Measure
Project Title Performance Measure Achievement in 2009-10
Prison In-Reach Program 12 closed episodes of care for young people. The Program provided 12 episodes of care for young people.
300 closed episodes of care for adults. The Program provided 494 episodes of care for adults.
  25% proportion of total episodes where referral is made on exit. For 11% of total episodes a referral was made on exit 
(The proportion of total episode where a referral was made on exit was lower than indicated due to a policy change in a large residential service about accepting clients post prison, and the high number of remand clients with unplanned exits).

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Acronyms

ABS    Australian Bureau of Statistics

AOD    Alcohol and Other Drugs

AODP    Alcohol and Other Drugs Program

APTCH    A Place to Call Home Program

COAG     Council of Australian Governments

DHF     Department of Health and Families

DHLGRS     Department of Housing, Local Government and Regional Services

DOJ    Department of Justice

EOI     Expressions of Interest

FaHCSIA     Department of Families, Housing, Community Services and Indigenous Affairs

ICMS     Intervention and Case Management Service

NAHA     National Affordable Housing Agreement

NPAH     National Partnership Agreement on Homelessness

NTHIP     Northern Territory Homelessness Implementation Plan

SHS NMDS     Specialist Homelessness Services National Minimum Data Set

STH     Street to Home

TSP     Tenancy Support Program


 

Content Updated: 24 May 2012