Michelle Lensink

Supported Accommodation

I seek leave to make a brief explanation before asking the Minister for Aboriginal Affairs and Reconciliation, representing the Minister for Social Justice, a question about supported residential facilities.

The Hon. J.M.A. LENSINK: Members may have received a copy of the newsletter from the Supported Residential Facilities Association of SA Inc. The supported residential facilities industry is rather complex and fulfils an important housing need. It faces a number of challenges due to the increasing complexity of its client group and the impact of financial issues. A number of disturbing issues were raised in the June-July edition which deserve a ministerial response.

My questions are:

1. Will the minister release the report on financial viability entitled ‘Supported residential facilities in SA:

financial analysis’? If not, why not, and, if so, when will it be released?

2. From what funding line and/or program was the financial support to the ‘not for profit’ facility of 10 beds (cited at the end of page 2) procured?

3. What is the rationale for not officially recognising the industry through its inclusion as a member of the Supported Residential Facilities Advisory Committee?

4. Can the minister provide details as to why the existing HACC program entitled ‘Step Out’, funded at a cost of $80 000, will cease to be funded, while a similar new program, at a cost of $300 000, will be funded? Is it envisaged that this new program will include a community visitors scheme, as foreshadowed in the latest edition of the publication I have just cited?

The Hon. T.G. ROBERTS (Minister for Aboriginal Affairs and Reconciliation): I will refer those important questions to the minister in another place and bring back a reply.

Thursday 25 March 2004

in reply to Hon. J.M.A. LENSINK (16 July 2003).

The Hon. T.G ROBERTS: The Minister for Social Justice has advised:

1. Will the minister release the report on financial viability entitled ‘Supported Residential Facilities in SA: Financial Analysis’?

If not, why not, and, if so, when will it be released?

The report, Financial Analysis: Supported Residential Facilities in South Australia, has been released and is publicly available on the Department of Human Services (DHS) website at www.dhs.sa.gov.au.

2. From what funding line and/or program was the financial support to the ‘not for profit’ facility of 10 beds (cited at the end of page 2) procured?

It is presumed that the not for profit' 10 bed facility referred to the June-July Supported Residential Facilities Association of SA Inc newsletter is in fact the 11 bed facility, Russell House, which DHS funds from the Commonwealth State Housing Agreement budget.

There is no Department of Human Services 10 bed facility.

DHS provides funding to Housing Spectrum, a non-government organisation that operates Russell House. The facility has an 11 bed capacity and is managed on a not for profit' basis. Russell House is owned by the South Australian Housing Trust and DHS subsidises operational costs for providing accommodation and support.

3. What is the rationale for not officially recognising the industry through its inclusion as a member of the Supported Residential Facilities Advisory Committee?

Section 11 of the Supported Residential Facilities Act 1992, prescribes that the Advisory Committee will consist of 13 members appointed by the Governor. The membership categories reflect the wide range of interests in the Supported Residential Facility (SRF) industry. This includes proprietors/managers, advocacy interests, unions, local government, and medical practice groups. This representation of a diversity of interests maintains the approach adopted by government since the Act was proclaimed.

The current SRF Association President continues to be a member of the Advisory Committee.

4. Can the minister provide details as to why the existing HACC program entitled ‘Step Out’, funded at a cost of $80 000, will cease to be funded, while a similar new program, at a cost of $300 000, will be funded? Is it envisaged that this new program will include a community visitors scheme, as foreshadowed in the latest edition of the publication I have just cited?

In 2000-01, the previous government approved funding from the Home and Community Care (HACC) Program of $72,000 on a oneoff basis for the Community Bridging Services Step Out' Project.

The project provided a predominantly group-based model of social support for residents of Supported Residential Facilities. This model was not congruent with DHS and HACC Program directions for individualised models of service delivery, which emphasise flexibility and are targeted and responsive towards individual needs and preferences.

The project ceased at the end of the one-off funding period without any commitment that recurrent (ongoing) funding would be provided. This was due to the obligation by DHS, through the HACC Amending Agreement 1999, and from a probity and due process perspective, to assess all submissions for funding individually, against the stated criteria and priorities in the HACC Annual Plan.

In 2002-03, Community Bridging Services again submitted an Expression of Interest for $92,000 per annum in recurrent (ongoing) HACC Program funding for the Step-Out' project to assist 90 residents.

At the same time, the City of Unley, in partnership with the Cities of Marion, Holdfast Bay and Mitcham, submitted an Expression of Interest for fixed term HACC funding of $100,000 per annum for three years ($300,000 in total) for the Social Support Scheme for Residents in SRFs in the South' project.

For almost equivalent funding, the Social Support Scheme intends to assist over 300 residents each year to reduce social isolation and improve wellbeing. The project will recruit groups of trained volunteers to regularly visit residents in their home to establish relationships on a one-to-one basis and encourage and assist residents to interact and participate in their community through established networks, groups and clubs. The model also provides direct support for the resident to access services including allied health, counselling, advocacy, equipment, transport and social support.

The City of Unley has a good track record of service provision to residents of Supported Residential Facilities and has the necessary infrastructure and experience to deliver the intended outcomes. The City of Unley Social Support Scheme project was recommended and approved by the Department of Human Services for fixed term funding because the Social Support Scheme', compared to the Step Out' application, demonstrated better value for money and improved outcomes for disadvantaged residents of Supported Residential Facilities.

 

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