Hear UCWB case manager Kelly Walsh talk about the homelessness
With more than 800 clients coming through the door each year, UnitingCare Wesley Bowden’s (UCWB) homelessness service supports a wide variety of accommodation issues.
Kelly Walsh, a case manager at UCWB’s Inner Southern Homelessness Service (ISHS) says there’s no really typical client they see.
“We see clients who might have mental have mental health issues, financial issues, physical health issues and legal issues: these are all different issues that a client might have that affects their ability to maintain their housing long term,” Kelly says.
“There is a perception that homelessness means sleeping rough which might mean sleeping in a sleeping bag under a bridge but that’s definitely not always the case.
“We see a lot of homeless people who are not sleeping rough, they might be staying with family, couch-surfing with friends or children sleeping in lounge rooms on couches and on mattresses on the floor.”
There is a perception that homelessness means sleeping rough which might mean sleeping in a sleeping bag under a bridge but that’s definitely not always the case.” Kelly
Kelly says this tertiary or secondary homelessness is the “hidden homelessness” that people don’t talk about so much.
“It’s really important that people have their own space and their own place to live,” Kelly says.
But the key problems facing people without stable accommodation is the lack of available housing, the high cost of rent and the shrinking pool of social and public housing compared to five years ago.
According to Kelly funding cuts have also made it harder homelessness clients to gain access to other services they may need including mental health support, financial counselling or low cost legal services.
“At Inner Southern Homelessness Service the best outcome we can get for a client is when we can assist them to find long term stable accommodation and know that they’ve got the skills, the resources and the knowledge to maintain that accommodation,” Kelly says.