Across YFS, almost 50% of the people we worked with were homeless or at risk of homelessness when we first met them. Housing-related issues were the most common reason people approached us for help.
A stable home is an essential foundation for people to move from crisis to thriving. People like Jazmeha (above) and Larissa (below) can build good lives once their housing is sorted, particularly if they have support to address other interrelated issues.
Our focus on a home starts in YFS Connect, our front door information and referral service. In 2018-19, YFS Connect responded to more than 6200 requests relating to homelessness and tenancy issues. This comprised 54% of all contacts. YFS Connect brings together emergency relief funds from the Commonwealth Government with financial capability workers, financial counsellors and housing experts. This means we can help people save tenancies, find housing solutions and link with more intensive supports if required. Our approach helped 280 people save tenancies or establish new ones in 2018-19, and provided advice, support and linkages to thousands more.
Our Housing team provided in-depth support to 230 individuals and families in 2018-19, helping them secure housing. We follow up with these people after we finish working with them; it’s part of our work to understand how to achieve sustained results. 90% of the people we were able to contact were still in the same tenancy 12 months after we finished working with them. We are investigating ways to reach a larger proportion of past clients to gain a more accurate picture of housing sustainment.
Staff in all YFS programs have a broad knowledge about housing, ensuring they can support people to find and sustain housing. In May 2019, we shared our knowledge by delivering rapid housing training for workers from other Logan organisations. Also, we continued to partner with the Tenants Queensland QSTARS team to offer tenancy advice from YFS premises.
We are working with the Queensland Department of Housing and Public Works and other organisations to develop a Logan homelessness hub in 2019-20.
We will promote the great results achieved by our YFS Connect team in preventing homelessness and helping people find solutions fast, to secure ongoing funding.
Learning how homeless families can thrive
There is irrefutable evidence that a supportive housing approach – combining affordable housing and tailored support – supports long-term change. In 2018-19, we reviewed the evidence about achieving good outcomes for families experiencing homelessness.
Working with Logan Together, the Community Service Industry Alliance, the Australian Centre for Social Innovation and homeless families themselves, we designed an integrated approach: the Thriving Families project. This project unites a housing specialist and family coaches to help 40 families move from crisis to thriving.
The YFS Board has agreed to fund a two-year trial of this approach. In this period, we will learn more about what works to improve outcomes for vulnerable families and provide new information to inform planning and the commissioning of government services.
In the 2018-19 financial year, about half of our clients entered the service homeless (13%) or at risk of homelessness (35%). The majority were in unstable or temporary accommodation. This was similar to the previous year.
Once we finished working with them, 76% of clients were in stable housing, compared to 50% on entry. Of those who were initially homeless or at risk of homelessness (731), we supported 63% (458 people and families) into stable accommodation. This figure was higher for the specialist housing team, which stabilised housing for 80% of their clients.
Housing status on entry (n=1656) all programs
Housing status on exit (n=1617) all programs
Meet confident mum Larissa
“I used to not have the confidence to stand up to people. Now, I don’t take any nonsense. My children’s safety is my top priority.”
Larissa worked with our Housing First and Sure Steps teams to resolve safety concerns so she could retain her home, and to learn the skills to set boundaries and manage neighbourhood issues.