17 April, 2012
The Salvation Army applauds the Victorian Government on its decision to extend the funding for the Accommodation Options for Families (AOF), Additional Support for Families (ASF) and the associated Private Rental Brokerage (PRB) programs for a further 12 months until 30 June 2013.
The Accommodation Options for Families Program was originally formed in response to the recommendations of the 2009 Rooming House Standards Taskforce and was designed to keep families out of unsafe and inappropriate rooming houses.
A recent self-funded evaluation of the program lead by HomeGround in partnership with The Salvation Army Social Housing and Support Services (SASHS), VincentCare, and Hanover, surveyed 84 participants on their experience of the program with 80% of respondents reporting they felt less stress and anxiety, 67% felt they could manage their finances better, and 92% of respondents reported that their children's sense of security and safety had improved after participating in the program.
Since June 2010, the program has been overwhelmingly successful in improving outcomes for families at risk of or experiencing homelessness.
From 1 July 2010 to 30 September 2011, the AOF program delivered by the four agencies that participated in the review has assisted 175 families and 416 accompanying children in accessing or maintaining safe and sustainable housing across the metropolitan area.
Despite the program's huge success, funding for the Accommodation Options for Families Program, Additional Support for Families and the Private Rental Brokerage Services was due to be discontinued in June 2012.
Rita Lawrence, General Manager of the SASHS Network, said that she was very excited at the announcement of the continuation of funding for a further 12 months and in particular the commitment by the Victorian Government to conduct a review.'
'In my experience of working in the homelessness sector the AOF, ASF and PRB programs had been amongst some of the most successful programs in managing some of the real risks that vulnerable families and children face when they have no other option but to live in inappropriate housing.'
'The success of this program was the ability for workers to intervene early and to work in partnership with children's services to mitigate some of the adverse effects and risks associated with children experiencing homelessness.'
The Salvation Army is delighted that the Victorian Government has agreed to continue this important program by extending funding for another year during which a review of the program will be carried out.
The Salvation Army welcomes the extended commitment to families at risk of or experiencing homelessness and looks forward to working with the Victorian Government throughout the review over the next year.