Opinion: Fighting homelessness in Port Stephens

Ann Fletcher - Team Leader, Early Intervention and Homelessness Program at Port Stephens Family and Neighbourhood Services.
Ann Fletcher - Team Leader, Early Intervention and Homelessness Program at Port Stephens Family and Neighbourhood Services.

Port Stephens Family and Neighbourhood Services’ Early Intervention and Homelessness Service is funded by NSW Family and Community Services – Housing.

It’s a service that offers support not just during Homelessness Prevention Week, which runs from August 6 to 12, but throughout the whole year.

The Going Home Staying Home program was funded across NSW in July 2014 to bring about reform in the Homelessness sector with the vision of preventing vulnerable people from “falling through the gaps” with a focus on an early intervention approach, preventing individuals from becoming homeless in the first place.

The service has been in high demand since its inception with PSFANS assisting on average 400 individuals per year. We work with people from the Port Stephens Community, of all ages and backgrounds, assisting them to resolve their homelessness or to prevent them from becoming homeless.

We undertake this work from a client centred focus and it’s very much dependent upon the individual and what their goals are. People that come to us for support have many different stories and reasons that have led to them being in the situation they’re in.

Our caseworkers are qualified in the area of social welfare and offer outreach support across the LGA. We have partnerships with other local organisations such as Tomaree Neighbourhood Centre and Yaccaba.

To access service you must be a resident of Port Stephens Local Government Area or have a connection to the area and be eligible for Housing NSW services.

Some of the ways we assist our clients is to offer free financial counselling to help you prepare a budget to assess your rental affordability; referral to Housing Pathways products such as, Rentstart Bond Loans, Rentchoice Youth and Start Safely subsidy; support to prepare rental applications and tenancy legislation education and support to name a few.

We have assisted people to access their correct Centrelink payments, attending medical and mental health specialist appointments, identification papers, legal advice, disability supports, support for people experiencing domestic violence and advocacy to many State and federal government departments.

The service is based at Raymond Terrace at the Jacaranda Avenue Neighbourhood Centre. If you feel that our services may be able to assist you please call 4987 1331 or 4983 1155 during business hours, or email shsintake@psfans.org.au.

  • Ann Fletcher is the team leader for Early Intervention and Homelessness Program at Port Stephens Family and Neighbourhood Services.

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