A group of health and community sector workers on the north coast are banding together to help improve the healthcare and wellbeing of homeless people in the region.
One of the side-effects of having ‘no fixed abode’ is that often people miss out on receiving Medicare cards and access to vital health-related services.
On top of that, many homeless people often suffer from multiple and sometimes complex health issues, that become increasingly serious the longer they go untreated.
The Alliance to Improve Services to the Vulnerable Members of the Community may seem like a mouthful but its important brief is to focus particular attention on how to deliver services to this needy and often-overlooked group.
The efforts of the group, which was only formed in February this year, have now been recognised, with the Alliance receiving the partnership of the year award at the inaugural North Coast Medicare Local Quality Awards.
The Alliance’s Homeless Action Group has now conducted an extensive survey of people working in the health and community sectors to understand the needs of people who are homeless or at risk of becoming homeless.
One critical factor it highlighted was the difficulty faced by hospital staff planning in discharging a person who is without secure housing.
As a result, an action plan has been developed to assist hospital staff to liaise with other community service agencies when a homeless person is being discharged to ensure the person is found accommodation appropriate to their health needs.
NCML’s Chief Executive Vahid Saberi said that the Alliance had brought together people who don’t usually have the opportunity to work together to discuss such issues and helped put the client’s welfare at the centre of those discussions.
‘The survey about the needs of people who are homeless has resulted in some important action steps to break down barriers and assist people who are homeless or in vulnerable situations and to overcome barriers preventing from getting back on track,’ Mr Saberi said.
‘The Alliance representatives are from sectors which have never before sat down together to tackle the problems of the homeless in a holistic fashion. These different agencies are now working together to improve the health and wellbeing of people who are homeless in a variety of ways,’ he added.