Homelessness & SUPPORT

It was another big year for all our dedicated support staff with 2,121 people assisted across Bendigo, Echuca and Kyabram.

Of this number, more than 25% of people received case management, 18% identified as being Aboriginal or a Torres Strait Islander, and 22% reported having a mental illness.

It is a continuing testament to the outstanding work that our support staff do that 489 people were assisted in moving into long-term housing.

Our Aged and Disability services also experienced a year of great change and expansion, with the Haven Home Assist program providing 10,914 hours of support, up 37% on the previous year.

A major highlight of the year was becoming a registered provider as part of the newly instituted National Disability Insurance Scheme.

During the year we also embarked on two terrific initiatives in the area of mental health. Firstly, the collocation of our Psychiatric Disability Rehabilitation Support Services (PDRSS) with clinical services at the John Bomford Centre in Bendigo and secondly, the auspicing of our Housing Access worker also located at the John Bomford Centre.

Our Art Therapy Program’s Inner Peace Exhibition was an amazing success, which attracted a great deal of media attention and support, particularly the ABC’s Online interviews with participants, which you can view here [URL link]

Last, but by no means least, we celebrated many times throughout the year the coming of age on stage of The Mixed Nuts.  The Mixed Nuts are a band with a difference; each member has varying mental health issues and some with intellectual disabilities. The band evolved from a music program that was established to bring residents from Supported Accommodation Services and Psychiatric Disability Rehabilitation Support Services together. Within the eight-week program the band members had dramatic improvements in their self-confidence. The band comprises seven members:

- Vocals and lead guitarist – David
- Rhythm and lead guitar – Jan
- Rhythm guitar – Peter
- Keyboard – John
- Drums – Shaun
- Percussion – Jason
- Vocals and bass – Mark

In eight short months the band has performed at the MCG for the Department of Health, at the campaign launch for successful federal  ALP candidate Lisa Chesters, were regional finalists for ABC TV’s Exhumed band competition, and they played at the International Housing Partnership’s International Conference in Sydney.