Service will help house the elderly
Thursday, 25th July, 2013
By Erica Visser
A new service aimed at helping elderly people who are homeless or at risk of being so officially opened in the city yesterday.
The Common-wealth-funded program has run for several years in metropolitan areas and has now been extended to the country.
Uniting Care Ageing won the tender to provide the Assistance with Care and Housing for the Aged (ACHA) program locally.
It will help clients remain in the local community by finding them public housing or private accommodation, as well as aged services.
Director of Community Care, Pauline Armour, said that homelessness was a “traumatic experience that needs to be addressed individually with each person.”
“Uniting Care is very pleased to bring this service to Broken Hill,” Ms Armour said yesterday.
“This program provides linkage assistance with housing and care. It links clients to the most appropriate range of housing and care services in order to meet their immediate and ongoing needs.
“Our hope is that the need for this service will one day diminish.”
ACHA has employed case study worker, Jim Richards, who will work four days a week.
Mr Richards has experience in working with homeless youth and the Housing and Accommodation Support Initiative (HASI).
He said that Broken Hill had the second highest rate of homelessness in the State.
“The rates of homelessness are too high in the Far West.
“ACHA is a flexible service based on individual client needs. The key focus is addressing housing needs of financially disadvantaged older people.
“The service can also help longer-term care needs by referring clients to any relevant agencies offering care and support services.”
The agencies include Centrelink, legal access, counselling, drug and alcohol services and mental health services.
Mr Richards said that homeless people were not necessarily living on the streets.
“People who are homeless could include those in temporary accommodation or boarding houses, or who are due to be evicted from permanent accommodation,” he said.
“It could also be those living in squalid or dirty settings.”
Around 40 people attended the opening including city councillors Christine Adams and Marion Browne, Aboriginal Elders, Lifeline Manager Scott Hammond, Uniting Church Reverend Will Pearson and representatives of the Health Service.
The event closed with Reverend Pearson giving a rendition of the ballad ‘Danny Boy’.