More opportunities, support and incentives to build housing independence
There are many barriers to building independence and leaving social housing. These include access to education, finding work and having affordable housing options to transition to.
FACS and other government agencies will work together to make services better for tenants. This includes:
- giving young people and families with children homes that are closer to schools and jobs
- investing $2 million toward early childhood education services for children living in social housing to ensure school readiness.
- funding NSW Health to deliver a home visiting program for mothers and babies in social housing.
- supporting transition to affordable housing to give tenants a stepping stone out of social housing. The Housing and Accommodation Support Initiative (HASI) provides people with mental health problems with access to stable housing linked to clinical and psychosocial rehabilitation services
Supporting clients to achieve education and work goals
Family and Community Services is helping social housing clients take advantage of economic opportunities through new and expanded programs to help build housing independence.
- FACS Scholarships assist high school students who are living in social housing, out-of-home care, crisis/supported accommodation, receiving private rental assistance or on the NSW Housing Register. Successful applicants will receive $1,000 to help with education related expenses. Applications for the 2018 scholarships are now open. Applications can be submitted via the online application form. Entries close 5pm, Friday 23 February 2018. For more information visit www.facs.nsw.gov.au/education
- CareerPathways helps social housing clients train for new careers in a range of industries while supporting them through the process.
- Pathways to Jobs will be a specialised training and recruitment opportunity to support disadvantaged jobseekers living in social housing. The program will be a pathway to independence and an enabler of improved social and economic participation for social housing clients.
- The Personal Support Plan initiative will trial innovative person- centred service models to assist people to engage in education, training and employment and build housing independence. This is a voluntary program that will be delivered through partnerships with businesses and the not-for-profit sector.
- Employing social housing tenants as part of new maintenance and building contracts.
- The Start Work Bonus supports tenants when starting or returning to work by providing a rent freeze of up to 26 weeks where rent is not adjusted to the new income level.
- Smart and Skilled Fee-Free Scholarships are available to clients to assist them to get the skills they need to find a job without having to worry about course fees.
Supporting clients to access the private rental market
- Private rental assistance is a suite of products and services designed to help people set up or maintain a tenancy in the private rental market Rentstart Bond Loan and Rent Advance help people to set up a tenancy
- The Rent Choice initiative provides clients with rental subsidy for up to 36 months in the private market and support services to build their capability to transition to independence housing
- The Start Safely Program provides private rental subsidy for up to 36 months for people escaping family or domestic violence who are homeless or at risk of homelessness.
A ‘place-making’ approach to building communities
Approximately 40% of social housing in NSW are located in concentrated housing estates. While a range of social housing estates function relatively well, many estates experience high levels of crime, unemployment, domestic violence, tenancy management problems, poor educational outcomes and associated child protection issues. These experiences can be passed on through multiple generations, reinforcing the cycle of disadvantage. As part of Future Directions Service Improvement Initiatives, Place Plans will be introduced that will focus on:
- Better access to opportunities such as improved educational outcomes and pathways to training and jobs. This includes building life skills, resilience and community engagement to break down stigmas and foster community leadership
- Timely access to effective and coordinated services such as integrated case management
- Building a stronger and safer community with a positive identity
- Supporting Aboriginal community healing and activities to foster community pride
- Improved physical environment in social housing areas, including infrastructure and community facilities such as working with council and residents to improve the appearance of homes, streets, parks and community facilities.
Four Districts are currently scoping and investing in place-base projects to strengthen social housing communities in Kempsey, Griffith, Moree and Eden. More sites will be announced soon.