A Housing Support Success Story

A referral from the Office of Housing was received by the Social Housing Advocacy and Support Program (SHASP) at Cafs after concerns were raised in relation to the overall state and untidiness of a property. An appointment was booked with the tenant, Bruce, with the focus being to avoid a breach of duty notice being placed on them as the leaseholder. 

On arrival at the home, Cafs housing workers noticed that the overall condition of the property was one of neglect and squalor. Bruce explained that he had been admitted to hospital in Melbourne for three months, leaving his adult sons to be responsible for maintaining the property. Bruce further explained that despite the fact that he had been leasing the property for over 11 years, he was dissatisfied that there had been no maintenance or improvements carried out during that period. Bruce specified that he identifies as Aboriginal and he would prefer to apply for an Aboriginal Housing property. 

Bruce was willingly linked in with Jane who is the Aboriginal Tenants at Risk practitioner at Cafs. Once Jane had consulted with Bruce, it became evident that there were secondary concerns other than the house becoming simply untidy. Bruce told Jane that for the first three months he had been admitted to hospital, his son's had, "run amok and used my house as a half-way house for all their mates. It's humiliating. They never clean anything, and I think they've been smoking pot". 

Jane noticed that Bruce seemed to be quite despondent about the situation with his two adult sons and mentioned that working as a family unit, they could improve the condition of the house. Jane offered practical support and organised a skip bin that could be used for the removal of waste and facilitated for the three men to all pitch in and get the job done. Jane was also able to advocate for an upgrade to the kitchen, replacement of carper and repainting of the entire home through the Office of Housing.   

Jane further supported the young men to engage in a life skills program that focused on building everyday life skills such as budgeting, cooking, cleaning, applying for jobs, access to training and assistance with books, tools and travel to carry out that training. The young men completed their life skills course and are rebuilding respectful relations with each other and Bruce. They can now assist with the cooking and cleaning and are both currently looking at applying for courses with Federation University Australia. 

Jane, the ATAR support worker, was able to keep Bruce and his family together in the same Office of Housing property and has now been able to close their file. A positive result all-round.