Frontline mental health workers have known for many years that Victoria’s housing crisis is having a detrimental effect on mental health consumers. The long waiting lists for social and public housing make it difficult for consumers to transition from supported living to independent living and in some areas of Victoria, CATT teams are spending much of their time attempting to assist consumers to access safe accommodation.
HACSU members know that something has urgently got to change.
To amplify the Andrews’ Labor Government’s Big Housing Build, HACSU has teamed up with the Victorian branch of The Australian Manufacturing Workers’ Union and 3PE Build to offer a forward-thinking solution to assist vulnerable community members effectively transition from Community Care Units to supported independent living.
The AMWU, HACSU, and 3PE echo the calls made by the Victorian Inquiry into Homelessness for the Victorian government to explore opportunities to include more social enterprises and to include work readiness components into their employment program. We see this as the way forward, particularly for young people who are at risk of or experiencing homelessness to receive job readiness training and employment opportunities and for older women over 55, which is fast becoming a dangerous demographic in terms of homelessness.
We see initiatives like this as imperative to taking much-needed pressure off of the mental health workforce, particularly in regard to re-admission to mental health wards and halting all medical discharge to homelessness.
HACSU members from Headspace, Bunjilwarra Koori Alcohol and Drug Healing Service, Youth Support and Advocacy Service (YSAS), Alfred Health, Peninsula Health, Western Health, and Melbourne Health contributed to the creation of this project with the 2021 Union Summer HACSU and AMWU interns, and we are proud to be able to offer a project that has come directly from consultation with the shop floor.
Click here to read our full plan, which has been submitted to Mental Health Victoria and is being presented to Victorian Government MPs in the coming weeks.