The Andrews Labor Government is increasing mental health and housing support to Victorians sleeping rough and those at risk of entering the criminal justice system.
The Mental Health and Police Response initiative will be expanded to provide a 24/7 mental health response in the Central Business District to those who come to the attention of Victoria Police.
The initiative delivers a timely joint response from police and mental health services to people needing urgent mental health support in the community.
Providing a mental health response means people get support sooner and will reduce the amount of time police or emergency services have to spend responding to these incidents, allowing them to return to other areas.
The intitiative has been highly successful across Victoria, with funding going to mental health services across the state.
In the CBD, support is provided by Northwestern Mental Health Service based at the Royal Melbourne Hospital in Parkville, from 2pm – 10pm. From 1 July support will be provided 24 hours a day.
The Government will invest $7.3 million to strengthen integrated care across Victoria’s congregate crisis accommodation facilities, which includes accomodation, health and mental health support, alcohol and drug treatment and access to other services.
The Labor Government has also given homelessness providers $2.6 million to provide targeted support for rough sleepers in the CBD during the colder winter months.
This builds on the $9.8 million Towards Home programme, which Tony Nicholson is overseeing and is in addition to the City of Melbourne’s funding boost of $2 million additional support, and ensures that the Salvation Army’s Night Time Safe Space is open over Winter.
The Government will also provide $5.5 million in additional support to Victorians leaving prison to find secure accomodation, reducing their risk of homelessness and re-offending.
The funding will enable greater assessment of people’s needs and capacity before they leave prison, help them find accommodation, and provide followup support and private rental assistance if needed.
Quotes attributable to Minister for Mental Health Martin Foley
“By expanding the Mental Health and Police program, we are ensuring those most at risk receive the treatment they need to get well, stay well and keep out of trouble.”
“We know this program works – so from July 1 support will be available around the clock, freeing up our police officers and emergency services.”
“As we go into winter we will continue to work with the City of Melbourne and housing partners to ensure rough sleepers get the wrap around support to get back on their feet.”
Quotes attributable to City of Melbourne Lord Mayor Robert Doyle
“We know that people experiencing homelessness often have drug and alcohol addictions, or may suffer from mental health issues. This service will provide the support services rough sleepers need to help them find permanent pathways out of homelessness.”
“By bringing together Police and mental health services to work as one, we can hopefully make a real difference to the lives of people experiencing homelessness.”
“The service will complement the work that our Daily Support team is doing to connect rough sleepers with outreach services and support, as well as collecting face-to-face data so that we know who is sleeping rough at any one time, the services they are using and their health and housing needs.”
SOURCE: Media Release, “Round The Clock Support For Rough Sleepers In The CBD”, Vic State Government, 31 May 2017
Produced by the librarians at the Brotherhood of St Laurence in Melbourne, Australia