The past couple of years have been challenging for the Housing Connect team at Hobart City Mission. The housing crisis has meant there are limited options for the many individuals and families who are at risk of homelessness in Southern Tasmania.
Hobart City Mission’s Housing Connect team includes four amazingly resilient and kind-hearted workers; Amanda, Kate, Nellie and Tara. They work tirelessly to help their clients through crisis, building trusting relationships and advocating to find the best possible outcomes.
No single day looks the same for a Housing Connect worker. They could be helping a client to find emergency accommodation one day, and keeping a woman and her children safe from family violence the next.
They work closely with their clients and take a holistic approach. They know that housing is just one element to a healthy and happy person. They help their clients access other supports they may need such as mental health, alcohol & other drug services, translation services, and NDIS to name a few.
They currently help between 20 – 35 clients each and expect their caseloads to increase, as the impact of COVID-19 causes more people to be evicted from rentals they can no longer afford.
The majority of their clients cannot access private rentals as they are either too expensive, do not allow pets, or are too far away from transport and other support services. This leaves most of their clients on the public housing waitlist. There are currently 3,500 applications for housing across Tasmania, with the average wait time for priority applicants sitting at 59 weeks.
In this environment it would be easy for the Housing Connect team to feel defeated. However, they approach every day with passion and determination. They know that they are doing life-changing and, at times, life-saving work.
Tara recently housed Mel*, a young woman who had significant mental health diagnoses, and had been in and out of the hospital for months. Mel needed a new place to live due to domestic violence within her family. She had made some unhealthy choices to escape from the trauma of her situation which had further effect on her mental wellbeing.
Tara helped Mel to access important programs and find a psychologist that she connected with. She spent many hours with Mel, working through crises and relapses, to help her reach her goals and become well again. After two years, and many hurdles overcome, Mel is now thriving, living in her own place and in a new relationship.
“It was a long journey but she’s come a long way” says Tara. “I built trust and rapport with Mel over a 2-year period. This relationship took this time to foster as Mel had stated many times that she had never trusted anyone before and had always felt let down. She is still working on trust and now has established healthy relationship patterns. She is doing so well.”
*Names changed for privacy reasons.
This story was first published in our 2020 Annual Report. To view the full Annual Report, click here.
< The Hobart City Mission Housing team have a growing garden of paper flowers pinned to a board in their office. Each flower represents a client that they have housed; a beautiful visual reminder of the work that they do.
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