Macarthur Homelessness Steering Committee
The Macarthur Homelessness Steering Committee, MHSC, grew from a desire by key homelessness service providers to raise awareness of the plight of disadvantaged persons across Macarthur. It has evolved over the past 6 years to also cover gaps in service provision to those who are homeless or are threatened with homelessness.
Homelessness across Macarthur presents in a number of guises including couch surfing, overcrowding and living in vehicles and is not always obvious and there are often mental health and co-morbidity issues. The desire to alleviate the plight of homeless people has become the key objective of the group.
The services represented currently on the committee are:
- Argyle Housing,
- Hume Housing,
- Nagle Centre,
- St Vincent de Paul,
- Housing NSW,
- Human Services,
- Partners In Recovery,
- Community Representative,
- Campbelltown Council, and
- Sector Connect
The committee has worked tirelessly to achieve its goals. It has hosted three winter sleepouts, known as ‘a night in the cold for a cause’ as well as ‘dinner under the stars’ raising a combined total of over $50000. It has administered a funding round to distribute funds across the region to achieve its aims. It has coordinated and administered a $12500 grant from Partners In Recovery – the Good Start Project – administering to homeless people with prolonged and persistent mental health issues and It has set up its own follow on project from the fund raising efforts covering gaps in the existing homeless support system.
The organisations that were successful in receiving funding in the early days include:
- Macarthur Disability Services for their Personal Helpers and Mentors Program
- Break the Cycle Incorporated for food relief
- Hume Community Housing Association for their Joint Tenancy Pilot Program
- South Western Regional Tenants Association for their 3 week workshop program, and
- Muru Nanga Mai for their Youth Homelessness Project
Recently funded projects include:
- Turning Point,
- One Meal, and
- Church of Christ
Aside from these specific programs the committee has a referral service that offers financial support where all other services have been exhausted. Assistance will be given for anything from brokerage and emergency accommodation to medical costs ie specialist psychiatric reports. Every referral is assessed individually and signed off by 2 committee members. An added bonus is the opportunity to introduce case management to the client where it is appropriate. The committee has also set up a partnership with the council rangers so that all rough sleepers have a soft entry engagement point.