West Homelessness Network
The Western Homelessness Network is one of nine regional networks across Victoria, funded to bring Specialist Homelessness funded services together to share information,identify common needs and gaps in service provision, and establish close working relationships to promote and assist the best possible response to those at risk of or experiencing homelessness, within a regional context.
The 24 homelessness and family violence agencies operating in Melbourne’s west form the core membership of the Network, which also incorporates 10 allied services. The Network meets every six weeks.
Funds are provided by the Department of Families, Fairness and Housing to the Network:
“[DFFH] provides resources for the maintenance of Regional Homelessness Networks. These networks provide an opportunity for all homelessness services to come together at the regional level to improve responses to people experiencing homelessness in their local communities. All homelessness services are required to participate in these activities.
Regional Homelessness Networks provide a forum for Specialist Homelessness Services (SHS) funded agencies, allied support services and related organisations to come together and resolve issues of homelessness in the region.”
With some regional variations, each Network brings together services with a common interest in supporting people who are experiencing homelessness and/or family violence. Homelessness and family violence agencies in each Network meet together to manage the coordinated homelessness service system in their area.”
The Network receives funding for a Network Coordinator, who supports the Network activities. This position is auspiced by Wombat Housing Support Services.
A Steering Group made up of representatives from Specialist Homelessness Services, Family Violence services and the auspice agency informs the general direction of the Network.
Each year the Network develops a strategic plan outlining advocacy, collaboration and sector development priorities for the year.
More information can be found on the NWHN’swebsite: (Overview of the Western Homelessness Network (nwhn.net.au)
Annual consumer survey
The Network undertakes an annual consumer survey, in partnership with the Northern Homelessness Network. Survey findings are used to inform both Network advocacy and further development of the homelessness system. Information about the surveys can be found here: Consumer participation and feedback (nwhn.net.au)
Crisis in Crisis
One the keyNetwork advocacy pieces to evolve from the Consumer Survey findings has been the work on the crisis in crisis accommodation. In 2017 the Northern and Western Homelessness Networks released a report: The Crisis in Crisis: The Appalling State of Emergency Accommodation in Melbourne’s north and west
In response to this Report, the Department of Families, Fairness and Housing funded the Crisis Accommodation Options Project to further explore the issue of emergency accommodation, to map the current system, to identify and cost alternative accommodation options and to make recommendations on potential changes to the use of HEF/brokerage to maximise the use of current investment in the North and West to increase the quality of crisis accommodation for people experiencing homelessness.
The Project has provided the Sector with the opportunity to explore the use of the Housing Establishment Fund (HEF) within the context of the current housing market; the Sector’s reliance on the private accommodation Sector; and the client experience of HEF in greater detail. The NWLASNs would like to thank the Department of Families, Fairness and Housing for their support throughout the project.
The Report includes 24 recommendations for consideration by government and the homelessness sector.
You can download the report here:Crisis in Crisis II: A Way Forward
You can download the report here:
Crisis in Crisis II: A Way Forward