Housing and crisis support programs have received backing from the department of health and human services

Coinciding with Homelessness Week, Uniting Ballarat has received confirmation of funding for two of its Housing and Crisis Support Programs.

Welcome boost: Crisis and housing support manager Wendy Ferguson with Uniting Ballarat's Kristy Leviston and Adam Liversage welcome funds for housing support. Picture: Lachlan Bence

Welcome boost: Crisis and housing support manager Wendy Ferguson with Uniting Ballarat's Kristy Leviston and Adam Liversage welcome funds for housing support. Picture: Lachlan Bence

The Street to Home program provides the homeless with resources, health care and safe accommodation, an initiative to which the department of health and human services has recently pledged financial support. 

“The target was working with 10 people at a time and to be able to place four rough sleepers directly into longer term houses and in the nine months, we actually placed 13 and worked with around about 50 people.” Crisis and housing support manager Wendy Ferguson said.

Their initial estimate of about 70 rough sleepers on any given night in Ballarat was doubled, Ms Ferguson said, and the situation is getting worse. 

“And so we applied to the department of health and human services and we were successful in getting what we asked for, which was enough funds for three positions, because the problem was bigger than what we thought originally.” she said.

As well as ensuring a larger brokerage fund to assist getting people into the rental market faster, the support means the program will be able to extend further than the Ballarat area, and will include the outskirts of Daylesford and Bacchus Marsh. 

Serving as a pilot program around the regional Grampians area, Ms Ferguson said they are evaluating the program outcomes as they go and feeding them back to the department in lieu of a future statewide model of operation. 

More than a House is another program for which Uniting Ballarat had previously received 12 months of funding and to which the department of Health and Humans services has pledged financial support for a further two years.

With money allocated to the program after the Royal Commission into Family Violence, Ms Ferguson said the initiative was able to provide substantial assistance for people to get into private rental and change their financial situation.

A breakfast will be held at Breezeway next week to assist the public in awareness of the issues and support available to the homeless.

Ms Ferguson said the breakfast would educate attendees about the extent of homelessness issue in Ballarat including the support and services that are available, and also serve as a thank you to stakeholders who work with them.

For more information visit unitingcare.com.au.