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  • What is the Opportunity Pathways program?

    Opportunity Pathways is for DCJ clients seeking training and work opportunities.

    The program is voluntary and free.

    To be eligible participants need to be:

    • 17 years or older and meet school leaving requirements, and
    • Living in public, community and Aboriginal housing, or
    • Receiving a DCJ Rent Choice subsidy, or
    • An approved social housing applicant on the NSW Housing Register.

    Program participants are provided with wrap-around supports and tailored case management from their Opportunity Pathways Provider to help them achieve their training and employment goals.

    The program is available in various sites across NSW for three years to March 2022. The average length of engagement in the program will be 12 months.

  • What is Rent Choice?

    Rent Choice is a form of Private Rental Assistance (PRA) that supports households to access safe and affordable housing in the private rental market. It provides a time limited private rental subsidy for up to three years and facilitates access to support services, including training and employment opportunities, to build capacity for independent living.

    Currently Rent Choice operates under various standalone products such as Rent Choice Youth. DCJ is seeking to streamline the various standalone products under a consolidated Rent Choice product effective July 2020 to improve accessibility of the Rent Choice Program for clients.

  • How does case management work for clients of both Rent Choice Youth and the Opportunity Pathways program?

    The Rent Choice Youth support agency will be the lead case manager for a client accessing both programs. This is based on the duration of support (up to 36 months) that can be provided by the Rent Choice support agency.

    To be eligible for Rent Choice Youth, recipients must have an Independence Support Plan (ISP). This plan is created by the client and Rent Choice support agency and is discussed, and updated where necessary, at each quarterly review. The ISP details goals and support strategies for stable housing, education/training, employment, health, safety and wellbeing.

    Rent Choice Youth clients can be referred to Opportunity Pathways at any time over the duration of their Rent Choice Youth subsidy. Opportunity Pathways should be identified in the client’s ISP, if it is suitable for the client’s training and employment goals.

    The Opportunity Pathways provider will also develop a Training, Employment and Housing Plan (TEHP) with the client.

    All agencies involved must communicate to the lead case manager to support case planning and service delivery.

  • What are Partner Facilitation Groups in Rent Choice Youth?

    The lead of the Rent Choice Youth Partner Facilitation Group (PFG) is responsible for the day-to-day program management of the program. This includes:

    • client referrals;
    • reviewing and monitoring client progress; and
    • the review of client exits from the program.

    If the PFG agrees, the Rent Choice Youth Project Officer will  invite the local Opportunity Pathways provider(s) to join their PFG.

    At these meetings, PFG members can make referrals to the Opportunity Pathways program, if it  is the most suitable training and employment program for the young person.

  • How to refer Rent Choice Start Safely and Assist clients to Opportunity Pathways

    For Rent Choice Start Safely and Assist clients a referral to the Opportunity Pathways program can be made by:

    ·     a client phoning or emailing the Opportunity Pathways provider directly, or

    ·     a social housing provider or any other support agency referring a client by emailing a signed ‘Consent to exchange information between a social housing provider and support workers’ form to the Opportunity Pathways provider’s referral email address.

    The Opportunity Pathways provider will assess if a client is eligible and suitable to participate in the program

  • Opportunity Pathways and Rent Choice Youth program delivery sites

    Contact details for the service providers delivering Opportunity Pathways and Rent Choice Youth are available on the Opportunity Pathways page and the Rent Choice Youth page.

    Opportunity Pathways ProviderDistrictOpportunity Pathways SitesRent Choice Youth Partner Facilitation Group Locations
    BEST Employment New England Tamworth, Inverell. Outreach to Gunnedah, Quirindi, Narrabri, Wee Waa, Moree, Armidale, Glen Innes, Tenterfield Tamworth, Armidale, Moree, Narrabri
    Housing Plus Western NSW Bathurst, Dubbo, Orange, outreach to Parkes, Central West, Cowra, Mudgee Bathurst, Dubbo, Orange
    Far West Broken Hill N/A
    Mission Australia Murrumbidgee Wagga Wagga, Albury, Griffith. Wagga Wagga, Albury
    Southern NSW Goulburn, Queanbeyan, Batemans Bay, Moruya Queanbeyan, Eurobodalla, Goulburn, Yass
    MAX Solutions Pty Ltd Sydney Sydney, Burwood, Campsie, Lakemba, Punchbowl, Marrickville Inner City, Inner West
    South Eastern Sydney Rockdale, Sutherland, Maroubra St George and Sutherland Shire
    Northern Sydney Chatswood, Brookvale, North Ryde North Sydney
    Settlement Services International Western Sydney Parramatta, Mount Druitt, Auburn, Merrylands, Blacktown Parramatta, Mount Druitt, Blacktown
    Wesley Mission Hunter Central Coast Dungog, Cessnock, Muswellbrook, Westlakes, Newcastle West, Charlestown, Raymond Terrace, Blue Haven, Gosford, Tuggerah, Woy Woy, Wyoming, Wyong Newcastle, Wyong
    Illawarra Shoalhaven Wollongong, Towradgi, Shellharbour, Nowra, Ulladulla Wollongong
    Mid North Coast Taree, Port Macquarie, Bowraville, Coffs Harbour, Kempsey Coffs Harbour
    Social Futures Northern NSW Tweed Heads, Lismore, possible outreach to Clarence Valley Lismore
    Evolve Housing Nepean Blue Mountains Penrith, Windsor, Katoomba, outreach to Springwood and Lithgow Penrith
    South Western Sydney Campbelltown, Macquarie Fields, Fairfield, Bankstown, Liverpool Liverpool
  • How do I allocate brokerage funds available through Opportunity Pathways and Rent Choice?

    It is important to ensure the use of brokerage funding complements each program.

    Rent Choice clients may be eligible to access brokerage as part of Opportunity Pathways if:

    • it will help them achieve employment and training goals in their Training, Employment and Housing Plan; and/or
    • the full Rent Choice brokerage allocation of $2,000 has been exhausted.

    There are differences in approved usage of the funds under each program. The two programs should coordinate their brokerage responses for the client. Opportunity Pathways providers should discuss brokerage allocation at the PFG or directly with the Rent Choice Youth support agency.

    The table below summarises brokerage assistance in each program.

    Program Opportunity Pathways Rent Choice
    Amount Up to $2,000 (inclusive of GST) per client per year of program participation. $2,000 (inclusive of GST) per client for program duration (up to 3 years).
    Approved Use
    • Employment   related costs
    • Educational   related costs
    • General support   costs e.g. reading glasses, personal identity documents
    • Essential   mental health, medical and dental expenses that assist the client in   preparing for employment or training
    • Childcare costs
    • Transport   related assistance
    • Household   establishment
    • Assistance with   education and training
    • Employment   related costs
    • Professional   services that assist the client in sustaining their tenancy or prepare them   for employment or training
    • Counselling   related services
    • Transport   related assistance
    • Household establishment
    • Assistance with education and training
    • Employment related costs
    • Professional services that assist the client in sustaining their tenancy or prepare them for employment or training
    • Counselling related services
    • Transport related assistance
    Excluded Use
    • Vehicle   purchase
    • Advance rent or   bond payments
    • Rent arrears
    • Personal debts
    • Subsidy or   other payments to an employer associated with mentoring, training or hiring   an employee
    • Advance rent or   bond payments
    • Rent arrears
    • Personal debts
    • Advance rent or   bond payments
    • Rent arrears
    • Personal debts
    Case Plan Training Employment and Housing Plan (TEHP) Independence Support Plan (ISP)* *not mandatory for all Rent Choice programs
    Documentation Opportunity Pathways Brokerage Expenditure Plan – contact your DCJ contract manager for a copy Rent Choice Brokerage Expenditure Plan
    More Information Opportunity Pathways Brokerage Guidelines – contact your DCJ contract manager for a copy Private Rental Assistance Policy
  • Can a Rent Choice client who is part of Opportunity Pathways access brokerage from both programs?

    Yes. The case study below shows how clients can access brokerage funds from both Opportunity Pathways and Rent Choice.

    Tim, aged 21, was homeless following a family breakdown and was residing in transitional accommodation. The agency providing the transitional accommodation was a member of a Rent Choice Youth Partner Facilitation Group. They referred Tim to Rent Choice Youth and supported Tim to find a private rental property.

    When Tim moved in, he needed some basic household items such as a washing machine and essential furniture. Tim’s caseworker worked with him to complete a Rent Choice Brokerage Expenditure plan to gain approval from the PFG for these expenses.

    Tim’s next step, as identified in his Independence Support Plan, is to get a full time job to help him independently sustain his tenancy.

    Tim’s case manager discusses Tim’s aspirations at the local PFG. The PFG suggests Opportunity Pathways (OP) as a suitable training and employment program. The OP provider accepts Tim into the program.

    The OP provider works with Tim to identify his training and employment aspirations. While developing the plan, they see that Tim will need financial assistance to travel to his preferred training course. The OP provider updates Tim’s OP Brokerage Expenditure Plan to include the travel costs to Tim’s training. Tim can also use OP brokerage funds to buy personal protective equipment for onsite training at a local construction site.

    The OP provider discusses the brokerage expenses at the next PFG. They check that the expenses are not already covered by brokerage from Rent Choice.

  • What is the role of the Opportunity Pathways provider in a Rent Choice subsidy review?

    The Opportunity Pathways provider must inform the Rent Choice support agency of any ongoing engagement issues with the client. An example of this is if the client withdraws from the Opportunity Pathways program.

    The Opportunity Pathways provider is not responsible for the Rent Choice review. This is the responsibility of the Rent Choice provider.

    Both support agencies must be authorised to exchange information while the client is engaged in the programs

  • Are Opportunity Pathways Providers able to access Fee for Service Support Payments available as part of Rent Choice?

    No. Opportunity Pathways providers are not eligible for Fee for Service Payments as they are funded through the Opportunity Pathways program.

    See also

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Last updated: 03 Oct 2019