Everybody needs a home
In South Australia alone, there are almost 6,000 people experiencing homelessness.
People who are homeless are among the most marginalised people in Australia.
This Homelessness Week (1 – 8 August), we are shining a light on people experiencing homelessness, the issues they face and the actions that Sonder, together with other organisations are working towards to achieve enduring solutions.
Nobody chooses to be homeless – there are often a range of circumstances and social disadvantages that result in an individual becoming homeless.
Homelessness can be caused by poverty, unemployment or by a shortage of affordable housing. It can also be triggered by a family breakdown, mental illness, sexual assault, addiction, financial difficulty, gambling, social isolation or domestic violence. Often, it is a combination of these factors.
How South Australia is reforming homelessness services
In 2019, the South Australian Government released the Future Directions for Homelessness strategy which outlined South Australia’s system-wide reform in the way homelessness services are delivered across South Australia.
The reform aims to increase investment in early intervention and prevention, ensure people receive the right support they need, when they need it and to rapidly rehouse people into stable long-term housing so they don’t continue to cycle in and out of homelessness.
The approach strives to achieve greater outcomes and remove roadblocks by bringing members of the sector together, to work closely to address shared challenges.
As part of the reform, the SA Housing Authority established five Alliances to service the complex and evolving needs of individuals experiencing homelessness across South Australia.
Sonder forms part of the Toward Home Alliance in the Adelaide South area, together with five experienced organisations including lead agency, Lutheran Care, Aboriginal Community Services, Baptist Care SA, Mission Australia and The Salvation Army.
Sonder CEO, Sageran Naidoo says he is delighted to be part of the Toward Home alliance.
Each agency involved in Toward Home demonstrates a long history of supporting South Australian communities and we are united together in tackling the challenging issue of homelessness.
Toward Home offers tailored support, pertinent to the individual’s specific situation of homelessness with services designed to prevent, divert and resolve homelessness.
Sonder’s involvement in Toward Home
Sonder’s Executive Manager, Community Services, Tania Manser explains,
As one of SA’s leading mental health service providers, Sonder works to address the contributing factors towards homelessness with a flexible mobile service that provides individuals experiencing homelessness with direct mental health and physical health nursing support.
“Our mobile support team can offer mental and physical health services directly to people experiencing homelessness and support them in accessing ongoing support,” Tania said.
Care Coordinators work with people to address their health needs, including linking people back in with supports so that they are in a better position to get back on track and into longer-term, safe and stable housing. This is complemented by a Mental Health Practitioner and nursing staff, who work with people to manage their symptoms and provide practical mental and physical health supports.
“On top of this, Sonder also provides a Peer Support Outreach Service to enable regular engagement with people who are rough sleeping in the inner-city and to offer and maintain support,” Tania added.
Sonder’s Toward Home Peer Workers utilise their own lived experience to best support the needs of people who are experiencing homelessness. This includes an Aboriginal Outreach Worker and Aboriginal Care Coordinator to ensure effective engagement with Aboriginal people.
For more information about Toward Home, visit lccare.org.au/toward-home
People experiencing or at risk of homelessness in the Adelaide CBD, southern metro or Adelaide Hills regions can connect with Toward Home services by phoning 1800 809 273, 9am-5pm, Monday-Friday.
Outside of these hours or areas, phone Homeless Connect SA on 1800 003 308.