The State-wide Homelessness Networks were established in 1996. They operate across Victoria in every Department of Families, Fairness and Housing (DFFH)region and are funded by DFFH to bring services together to share information, and identify common needs and gaps in homelessness service provision.
The Networks assist in establishing and maintaining close working relationships between Homelessness & Family Violence Services and DHHS in order to promote and support the best possible responses to homelessness within a regional context. Each network is made up of members from homelessness and family violence agencies funded through the Specialist Homelessness Support (SHS) Program.
The Networks have both grass roots and strategic goals. They fulfil a critical role in capturing and examining front-line homelessness service delivery issues through ongoing and regular consultation and communication with members. The Networks also assist to build service system capacity by identifying and developing potential solutions to address gaps and barriers. A key role for the Networks includes strategic communication with consumers, member agencies, peak bodies and all levels of government on the issue of homelessness and its impacts in Victoria.
The activities and directions of each Regional Network are guided by a Steering or Governance Group made up of members from local homelessness and family violence funded services.
Regional Homelessness Network Coordinators (RHNC)
Each Network has a Network Coordinator whose role is to manage and facilitate the Network’s activities.
Whilst there are some variations in terms of Network activities from region to region (as dictated by specific local needs and issues), the Networks fundamentally share a range of common goals and aims. Given this the RHNCs themselves have a unique role to play in building state-wide understandings and evidence bases and communicating the impacts of homelessness to both government and the broader community.
As a group the RHNCs have strong collaborative relationships that provide a robust vehicle for working together across Victoria to find ways to improve and refine homelessness responses and assist in the development of a Homelessness Service System that is ultimately better able to address and resolve homelessness in Victoria.
How can we help?
Whilst there are some regional differences the RHNCs deliver many similar activities such as:
Forums for Practitioners on various themes relating to Homelessness & Family Violence
Secondary consultation and suggestions for staff from the Specialist Homelessness Sector and those from allied sectors about issues like navigating the system, training, & how to access specific kinds of homelessness support
Agency visits to services to talk about the impact of homelessness in the community and how the Homelessness Service System works to assist people experiencing or at risk of homelessness
Newsletter / Websites including regular updates and information on training, conferences, policy changes, employment opportunities and much more
Facilitation of regional working groups on specific issues with a view to coming up with solutions to service gaps or barriers
Joint Submission or articles on homelessness & housing related issues
Building relationships between services and sectors through networking and sharing skills and expertise
Barwon South West Region – Rebecca Callahan
Eastern Metropolitan Region – Jo McDonald
Gippsland Region – Chris McNamara
Central Highlands - Rowan Sweeney
Goulburn Ovens Murray - Janine Bussell
Loddon Mallee Region - Kirsty Waller
Northern Metropolitan Region – Meredith Gorman
Western Metropolitan Region – Sarah Langmore
Southern Region – Ruth Gordon
Victorian Indigenous Statewide Homelessness Network (VISHN)- Amber Maihi