If you would like to have a document added, please email it to the Western Homelessness Networker:

Crossroad ICMI Breakfast Seminar: Youth Refuge-Enhanced Models - 28th May 2013
28th May 2013
  by Crossroads ICMI

Confused about the new youth refuge enhanced model?? Come prepared to find out about and ask questions on these 2 new models.

CHRIP Training Calendar 2013
27th May 2013
  by The Centre for the Human Rights of Imprisoned People

The Centre for the Human Rights of Imprisoned People (CHRIP) is running it’s 4th annual Effective Advocacy and Activism Training Program in 2013. The program is open to all legal and non-legal advocates and community members, and has a focus on individual and systemic advocacy around prison human rights issues.

New Family violence referral protocol between DHS and Victoria Police
27th May 2013
  by DHS and Victorian Police

The Family violence referral protocol between the Department of Human Services and Victoria Police 2012-14 provides guidance on how Victoria Police, the Department of Human Services and the service agencies it funds can work together to strengthen the collective response to family violence.

Service Sector Reform: Reflections on the consultations.
27th May 2013
  by Professor Peter Shergold AC

Professor Peter Shergold AC, the independent project leader for the Service Sector Reform Project, has released his interim consultation feedback report, Service Sector Reform: Reflections on the consultations. The report provides an overview of the perspectives shared in both submissions and consultation forums held across Victoria in response to Professor Shergold’s discussion paper and the questions presented for discussion at the consultation forums. It also provides his reflections on the major themes that have emerged and some of their implications.

Download here (1161kb)
A Review of Victorian Education Initiatives Relating to Youth Homelessness
27th May 2013
  by Associate Professor David MacKenzie, Dr Monica Thielking and Ms Chantal Chauvet-Allen

The purpose of this report is to outline what has been done and what is being done in the education sector to engage in 'early intervention' for young people at-risk of homelessness or experiencing homelessness in Victoria.

27th May 2013
  by Jo Howard - Manager, Peninsula Health Drug and Alcohol Program & Youth Service

This article by the Australian Domestic and Violence Clearinghouse argues that Adolescent violence in the home is a form of family violence, frequently resulting from children’s experience of family violence and manifesting as the perpetration of violence against parents and other family members when they reach adolescence. There is lack of clarity as to how the service system and criminal justice system understand and respond to this violence. There is merit in adapting current Australian approaches to adult family violence to address adolescent violence in the home through a coordinated community response involving police, youth justice and community services.

Download here (1827kb)
The geographic distribution of Indigenous disability
27th May 2013
  by Nicholas Biddle, Matthew Gray, Mandy Yap - First Peoples Disability Network

The rate of disability in the Indigenous population is substantially higher than for the Australian population as a whole. Despite the relatively high rates of disability experienced by the Indigenous population, there is surprisingly little research which provides basic descriptive information on where those Indigenous Australians with a disability live and what their demographic characteristics are.

This paper attempts to fill this knowledge gap by providing an overview of the geographic distribution of disability in the Indigenous population.

It has been written for the First Peoples Disability Network of Australia in order to support their aim to work towards better outcomes for Indigenous Australians with a disability. The second section of the paper provides an overview of the data used in the analysis, as well as a picture of the distribution of the Indigenous population.

The section that follows gives a comparison of rates of self-reported disability across the Indigenous lifecourse, with data also presented for the non-Indigenous population. The fourth section of the paper gives a summary of the rates of reported disability across 38 Indigenous Regions.

Link to document:

Victoria's prison population from 2002 to 2012
27th May 2013
  by Sentencing Advisory Council (SAC)

This report finds that Victoria’s prison population has increased by nearly 40% over the last 10 years, a rate faster than increases in the general population.

Victoria’s Prison Population 2002-2012 concludes that growth in Victoria’s prison population is due to a combination of factors, including:

  • increased lengths of prison sentences
  • increased use of custodial sentences in the higher courts
  • increases in offences against the person, drug offences and offences against good order.

The prison population rose from 3,540 in 2002 to 4,884 in 2012. This resulted in the imprisonment rate increasing to 111.7 people in prison per 100,000 adults; however, in 2012 Victoria still had the second lowest imprisonment rate in Australia.

Alongside an increase in the imprisonment rate, there has been a significant increase in the number of prisoners held on remand, representing over 20% of the prison population in 2012.

The average length of prison sentences has increased, with the average expected time to serve for prisoners rising 22.2% over the ten-year period, from 40.1 to 49 months.

Link to document:

Reporting racism: what you say matters
27th May 2013
  by Victorian Equal Opportunity and Human Rights Commission (VEOHRC

Racism takes many different forms, ranging from discriminatory treatment, property damage or offensive materials to abusive language and even violence. Racism reduces people to stereotypes and reinforces social prejudice and inequality – this behaviour can also be against the law.

Reporting racism: what you say matters, completes the first stage of a multi-tiered project to raise awareness of racism in the community and to build capacity for victims and bystanders to report racism and vilification when they experience it.

The report sets out eight key actions the Commission will undertake in partnership with other agencies to respond to the issues raised. These range from working with community groups to deliver targeted community information sessions about rights; supporting bystanders on public transport who observe instances of racist behaviour, and partnering with schools, youth groups, sporting organisations, local governments, employers and other agencies to promote and implement the Anti-Hate campaign messages (see below for more information about this campaign) into existing programs and curriculum.

Link to document:

Wheels Vocational Program Flyer - Frontyard 3rd July 2013
26th May 2013
  by Mlebourne Citymission

This program provides young people with the opportunity to explore their educational goals in a fun and supportive environment. Young people also have the opportunity to obtain 4 accredited certificates, participate in living skills workshops, resume writing, and practice interviews.

Its Not Asking Too Much: National Economic and Social Impact Survey May 2013
22nd May 2013
  by The Salvation Army

The Salvation Army Economic and Social Impact Survey (ESIS) for 2013 received a total of 2,705 surveys nationally from respondents accessing the organisation’s emergency relief and community support services. The survey provides a snapshot of the impact of cost of living pressures and the extent of social and economic deprivation and disadvantage experienced by these individuals and their families.

Download here (4409kb)
AEC Homeless Enrolment Brochure
16th May 2013
  by Australian Electoral Commission

This is a brochure produced by the Australian Electoral Commision to inform people experiencing homelessness how they can enrol to vote.

Download here (1354kb)
Experiencing out-of-home care in Australia: the views of children and young people
14th May 2013
  by Joseph J. McDowall: CREATE Foundation

This survey was designed to provide a reference point for how the out-of-home care system is faring in 2013 from the point of view of the children and young people living in it. It covers all the life domains identified under the Looking After Children framework and those articulated by the Australian Government in the Outline of National Standards for Out-of-Home Care.

Download here (21991kb)
Repairing a Broken System: Hurdles for Victorian Public Housing Tenants Seeking Repairs
14th May 2013

In West Heidelberg, repair requests from tenants are often not responded to by the local public housing office, are delayed for lengthy periods of time or are not completed properly. As a result, many public tenants in the area are living in substandard conditions. Clearly, the Victorian public housing system is struggling to meet the obligations placed on it as a landlord under the Residential Tenancies Act 1997 (Vic) (“the RTA”).

Download here (2048kb)
Youth Private Rental Entry Program Outline
14th May 2013
  by Vincent Care Youth Services

Private Rental Housing Pathways for young people aged 18-25 who are recovering from a diagnosed or emerging mental illness who have commenced or are in the process of, re-engaging with their employment and education/training aspirations.

Building the Scaffolding: Strengthening Support for Young People in Victoria
14th May 2013
  by YACVic and VCOSS

This report looks at the role that community sector and government organisations play in reinforcing this scaffolding and considers how supports can be further strengthened to promote better outcomes for all young Victorians.

Download here (3991kb)
2013 Wesley report: homelessness and the next generation
2nd May 2013
  by Wesley Mission

This report looks at the immediate and long-term issues facing homeless mothers, their children and those who experienced homelessness as a child.

Conducted through an in depth review of existing studies, a series of qualitative interviews with Wesley Mission clients and a policy and practice workshop, the report has resulted in a concise document that captures current experience with onward recommendations.

Download here (2816kb)
Crossroads ICM April Breakfast Seminar - Navigating the Mental Health System
30th April 2013
  by Crossroads ICM

Looking to find a pathway for your client into the mental health system? Come prepared to ask questions specifically on behalf of your client

Cut off III: the social impact of utility disconnection
29th April 2013
  by Alison Wallace, Lee Holloway: Public Interest Advocacy Centre (PIAC)

This paper analyses the circumstances that led to people being disconnected from utilities, the impacts of disconnection, and how people manage to finance reconnection. It is based on 171 surveys and four interviews with consumers disconnected in the second half of 2012. Findings are compared with Cut Off survey results from 2004 and 2008, noting a number of significant changes over the past eight years.

The research reveals that paid workers are just as likely as pensioners and the unemployed to be disconnected from electricity, gas or water. Disconnection is most often the result of long-term financial stress rather than a one-off event. Furthermore, a significant number of respondents reported an unusually high utility bill and debt prior to disconnection. There was also a high proportion of people who felt that retailer payment plans were unaffordable, and a large number of people did not know that vouchers or payment assistance existed to pay utility bills in emergency situations. This suggests a strong need to improve and promote existing support services and for utility retailers to engage with consumers in ways that are tailored to their needs to avoid disconnection, especially for paid workers who may not be eligible for government assistance.

Download here (3658kb)
Working towards an Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander wellbeing framework
29th April 2013
  by Oanh K. Nguyen, Sheree Cairney: Ninti One Limited

This paper explores existing wellbeing frameworks at global and local levels that are relevant to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people in remote Australia.

Download here (1542kb)
Pathways and choice in a diversifying social and affordable housing system
29th April 2013
  by AHURI

This project charted the range of pathways into and within the current Australian social and affordable housing system. It developed a better understanding of the various ways by which people in different places and with different abilities, desires and needs, access social and affordable housing.

Download here (1012kb)
SUMITT Workshop Registration Form
29th April 2013

SUMITT Workshop Registration Form for all SUMITT training and registration.

VHAP Consultation Dates and Locations
29th April 2013
  by Department of Human Services

This document has dates and geographic locations of upcoming VHAP consultations that will be run by KPMG on behalf of the Department of Human Services.

Tax welfare churn and the Australian welfare state
15th April 2013
  by Andrew Baker: Centre for Independent Studies (CIS)

In 2010–11, Australia’s welfare state, which includes health, education and income support payments, accounted for approximately $316 billion in government expenditure and 65% of total government expenditure.
By way of comparison, Australia’s three levels of government received $358 billion in tax revenue in 2010–11, of which $138 billion was received through income tax payments. • Of the $316 billion spending on the welfare state, approximately half, or $158 billion, can be attributed to tax-welfare churn.

Tax-welfare churn, the process of levying taxes on people and then returning those taxes to the same people in the form of income support payments and welfare services, simultaneously or over the course of an individual’s lifetime, continues to be a problem in Australia.

Churn imposes a number of social and economic costs such as high taxes, administration costs, inefficiency, rent-seeking, paternalism, and welfare dependency.

While Australia has relatively low levels of churn when compared to other developed countries, this does not mean governments and policymakers should ignore the issue.

ABS data show the Australian welfare state provides a ‘benefit tsunami’ once someone retires because the welfare benefits that elderly individuals receive substantially exceed their tax contributions after they retire.

Governments have recently committed to further expansion of the welfare state via increased pension payments, the National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS), and school education reforms—all of which exacerbate the financial crisis we are heading towards.

When combined with the fiscal pressures of an ageing population and expected lower tax revenue growth, it is clear the Australian welfare state is unsustainable on current trends.

There are a number of possible reforms that, in addition to being worthy policy changes in their own right, would have the additional benefit of reducing tax-welfare churn.

For example, Australia’s system of retirement savings is in dire need of reform. Aligning and increasing the preservation and age pension eligibility ages, combined with a requirement to use superannuation savings to purchase an annuity, will go far to reducing lifetime tax-welfare churn, welfare dependence, and future fiscal pressures.

There are numerous possible reforms to income support payments (including Family Tax Benefits and the Disability Support Pension), education and health that can reduce churn. This report outlines a selection of possible reforms.

Finally, this report briefly outlines the concept of a ‘personal savings and loan account,’ a tax-effective savings vehicle that would allow people to receive welfare benefits in the form of income contingent loans and make tax-free contributions to cover income support, health and education expenses.

The societal costs of alcohol misuse in Australia
15th April 2013
  by Matthew Manning, Christine Smith, Paul Mazerolle: Australian Institute of Criminology

It is well documented that alcohol-related problems compromise individual and social health, and wellbeing. The individual harms are numerous, including premature death, loss of enjoyment and loss of social utility through fear of crime and victimisation. The misuse of alcohol, particularly among those most at risk in our community, presents a major challenge for all levels of government. In this paper, a study is presented that provides a better national-level estimate of the costs of alcohol-related problems in Australia. Despite taking a conservative estimate, the aggregate of a range of societal costs substantially outweighs the tax revenue for the Commonwealth generated from the sale of alcohol. Results of this study provide evidence to policymakers regarding costs to the criminal justice system, costs to the health system, costs resulting from lost productivity and costs related to alcohol-related road accidents. Such evidence will provide an understanding of the economic tradeoffs that are present when making decisions that affect all Australians. Proposals are provided in the conclusion for a greater investment in prevention, based on the sound evaluation of prevention and diversion strategies by comparison with treatment options, in order to ensure better investments for the nation.

Expenditure on health for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people 2010-11
15th April 2013
  by Australian Institute of Health and Welfare (AIHW)

This report presents estimates of health expenditure for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people and their non-Indigenous counterparts for 2010-11. The reports are produced every 2 years. This is the seventh report in the series.
In 2010-11, health expenditure for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people was estimated at $4,552 million, or 3.7% of Australia's total recurrent health expenditure. The Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander population comprised 2.5% of the Australian population on 31 December 2010.

Per person health expenditure

In 2010-11, average health expenditure per Indigenous Australian was $7,995, compared with $5,437 per non-Indigenous Australian. This represents an Indigenous per person ratio of 1.47-that is, $1.47 was spent on health per Indigenous Australian for every $1.00 spent per non-Indigenous Australian.

This ratio (1.47) was an increase from 1.39 in 2008-09. Some of this increase may be due to improvements in the accuracy and quality of the estimates in this report.

Areas of health expenditure

In 2010-11, publicly provided services, such as public hospital and community health services, were the highest expenditure areas for the Indigenous population. For example, the average per person expenditure on public hospital services for Indigenous Australians ($3,631) was more than double that for non-Indigenous Australians ($1,683).

For health services that have greater out-of-pocket expenses, such as pharmaceutical and dental services, Indigenous expenditure is generally lower relative to the non-Indigenous population. For example, the average per person expenditure on dental services was $149 for Indigenous Australians, compared with $355 for non-Indigenous Australians.

Funding sources

The Australian Government (44.8%) and the state and territory governments (46.6%) combined funded 91.4% of the total health expenditure for Indigenous Australians in 2010-11. The non-government sector, which includes out-of-pocket payments by individuals, funded 8.6%.

For non-Indigenous Australians, the Australian Government (44.5%) and the state and territory governments (23.7%) funded 68.1% of the total health expenditure. Non-government sources and individuals funded the remaining 31.9%.

Health expenditure trends over time

Between 2008-09 and 2010-11, all government (Australian and state and territory governments) health expenditure on Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people increased by $847 per person (in constant prices). This represented an average annual growth rate of 6.1%. The corresponding figure for non-Indigenous Australians was 2.6%. Expenditure per person for Indigenous Australians was higher in all areas of expenditure for 2010-11 compared with 2008-09.

CHFV's submission to Peter Shergold’s Community Service Sector Reform
15th April 2013
  by Community Housing Federation of Victoria

CHFV has prepared a submission commenting on the discussion paper produced, “Towards a more effective and sustainable community services system.” This is the over-arching reform process that has the potential to influence the outcomes of other processes such as the THM review and even the Housing Framework.

Bridging the divide:the experiences of low-income households excluded from the private rental sector
15th April 2013
  by AHURI

This project investigated forced exits from private rental accommodation in Australia. It sought to understand practitioner responses and systems of service integration to assist these people be reintegrated back into suitable accommodation.

Are Boarding Houses Disappearing? 2012
15th April 2013
  by Chris Chamberlain - Centre for Applied Social Research RMIT

In 2011, the ABS conducted a review of the methodology used to count people who live in housing that is below the minimum community standard. The results of the review suggested that there was an overestimation of homelessness in a number of categories including boarding houses, resulting in a reduction of individuals classified as living in boarding houses.

This report, funded by the Australian Government under the National Homelessness Research Agenda, investigates whether boarding houses are in fact disappearing as census data from the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) suggests. It fits into an ongoing academic and policy discussion regarding the enumeration of homelessness in Australia. The researcher contends that significantly larger numbers of people are experiencing tertiary homelessness through living in boarding houses than has been previously identified.

Download here (3849kb)
Responding to Children in Specialist Homelessness Services
15th April 2013
  by Christine Gibson:Australian Centre For Child Protection

Homeless people with children have complex needs and service providers who deal with them require a level of expertise in a wide range of issues. Training for these service providers can be difficult to provide, particularly for services operating in a rural or regional context, so online resources have been developed by a number of organisations to fill some gaps in knowledge.

This report, funded under the Australian Government’s National Homelessness Research Agenda, reviews two sets of online training materials that support service providers working with homeless children. It aims to establish whether having access to freely-available materials can increase the awareness, knowledge and confidence of workers in specialist homelessness services in regards to working with homeless children. The two packages are the Australian Catholic University’s Kids ‘R’ Central package (also titled Kids Central) and the United States National Center on Family Homelessness Understanding Traumatic Stress in Children booklet.

The researchers contacted 123 employees of specialist homelessness service providers who worked with children. Respondents were asked to rate their agreement with statements regarding homeless children’s needs, and their own skills in addressing these needs, both before and after reading the training materials. Respondents were also asked to identify any aspects of the resource they liked or found useful as well as what they did not like.

As only a very low percentage of respondents had actually read the training materials, the ability to draw conclusions from the quantitative results is limited. However, some useful conclusions may be drawn from the qualitative reflections.

Download here (2632kb)
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29 An Introduction To Working With Individuals Who Have Self-Destructive Behaviours
7 Making Links Orientation
7 SASHS Open House
14 Brotherhood Talks: The role of the Sustainable Development Goals
27 National Housing Conference