"Housing Policy Template"
Policy Number: HOU / 309 Version: 1.0 Date of version: 1 September 2010 Applies to: Housing SA Issued by: Housing SA Delegated authority Geoff Slack Manager, Housing Policy Policy Custodian: Olive Bennell Director, Strategy, Policy & Mental Health - Supported Social Housing Properties Aboriginal Outcomes Policy Due for review: September 2013 Confidentiality: C1: public unrestricted DFC strategic outcome: Access to high needs housing SA Strategic Plan: Objective 6: Expanding opportunity T6.6 Homelessness Printed version of this document may be superseded – Refer to online policies and procedures for most current version. 1 Intent The Mental Health Supported Social Housing Properties Policy sets out the basis for tenant placement processes regarding mental health assigned properties. The intent of this policy is to outline roles and responsibilities of parties involved in the Mental Health Supported Social Housing initiative, namely Housing SA, Mental Health Services (MHS) and Preferred Growth Providers (PGPs). This policy is administered by Housing SA on behalf of the South Australian Housing Trust (SAHT). Through this initiative, Housing SA expects that: • Appropriate and affordable housing will be provided for the duration of need; • Vulnerable individuals’ ability to sustain tenancies will be improved by integrating tenancy management and support services; • Improved allocation arrangements and support for tenants with mental health issues will decrease the impact of disruption on tenants and their neighbours; • The strategic directions of Housing SA and the Government of South Australia in reducing disruption and the risk of homelessness due to disruption will be supported; and • Mental Health Services will engage in service planning partnerships with relevant housing providers as appropriate and negotiated. 2 Context Housing SA has a commitment to housing those in the highest need many of whom have mental health issues. To support this approach this Policy provides MHS with the capacity to nominate potential tenants for SAHT properties. The nominated tenants are selected through the Mental Health Supported Social Housing initiative. 3 Risk Failure to ensure timely and expert management of each party’s responsibilities may undermine the success of the initiative and sustainability of tenancies. To mitigate this risk the parties commit to take all reasonable steps to fulfil their obligations and participate in the management actions outlined in this Policy. 4 Reference Documents and Links 4.1 Directive Documents • National Affordable Housing Agreement (NAHA) • National Partnership Agreement on Homelessness Mental Health - Supported Social Housing Properties Policy (v1.0 1 September 2010) Page 1 of 5 Housing SA CONNECTED ETHICAL BRAVE RESPECTFUL Printed version of this document may be superseded – Refer to online policies and procedures for most current version • National Partnership Agreement on the Nation Building and Jobs Plan: Schedule C: Social Housing • South Australian Co-operative and Community Housing Act 1991 (Governing the relationship between Housing SA, Community Partnerships & Growth and community housing providers). • Stepping Up: A Social Housing Inclusion Action Plan for Mental Health Reform 2007-2012 / South Australian Social Inclusion Board 4.2 Supporting Documents • Housing SA. Allocations and Vacancy Management Policy & Guidelines • Community Housing Registration Management Policy & Procedures • Application for Resources: Supported Social Housing (Mental Health Services) / SA Health • Housing SA. Eligibility Policy & Guidelines • Community Housing Eligibility Policy & Procedures (Incorporating Housing Needs Assessments) • Registration of Interest for Social Housing Form • Social Housing Referral and Allocation Process: Supported Social Housing (Nation Building Economic Stimulus Plan) SA Health • Mental Health – Supported Social Housing Properties Procedures 5 Scope This policy applies to the allocation of the target of 250 properties made available, for allocation of mental health clients, to the Mental Health Unit as part of the Mental Health Supported Social Housing initiative. The policy also applies to the additional 12 properties made available specifically for women with mental health issues exiting Supported Residential Facilities (SRFs) with support services. This policy relates to Mental Health Services, Housing SA and Preferred Growth Providers (PGPs) who are nominating, allocating and housing customers for mental health assigned properties. It underpins the accompanying Mental Health – Supported Social Housing Properties Procedures. 6 Policy Detail 6.1 Identification and nomination Mental Health Services is responsible for identifying potential nominees for the Supported Social Housing initiative. In order to be eligible for nomination for the Mental Health Supported Social Housing initiative the nominee must: o Be a registered customer of Community Mental Health Services (CMHS); AND o Have a Care Coordinator and a Care Plan; AND o Be eligible for social housing; AND o Be deemed by the nominating agency to be in high need and unable to sustain a housing tenancy without support/s; AND o Be registered for social housing, including being registered on the Community Housing Customer Register, prior to being offered a tenancy; AND o Agree that the ownership / tenancy management of this housing may change, although any lease arranged will be honoured. Mental Health - Supported Social Housing Properties Policy (v1.0 1 September 2010) Page 2 of 5 Housing SA CONNECTED ETHICAL BRAVE RESPECTFUL Printed version of this document may be superseded – Refer to online policies and procedures for most current version 6.2 Eligibility assessment Mental Health Services will assist the identified nominee to register for social housing and ensure that Housing SA has assessed the registrations for social housing against Housing SA eligibility criteria and is eligible. 6.3 Allocations A Mental Health Allocation Committee (consisting of members of Regional Mental Health Services), and a representative from the relevant PGP or the relevant Housing SA Regional Manger or delegate will participate in the decision making process when the allocation of properties to eligible nominees is being considered. It is expected that all parties will negotiate in good faith to identify the most suitable nominee for tenancy, taking into consideration factors such as (but not limited to): 1. Best fit of tenant with the property type (e.g. disability modifications, social mix, occupancy standards etc); 2. Level of support being provided to the tenant; PGPs are obliged to house mental health clients in the properties designated for this purpose, unless otherwise agreed by the Housing SA Community Partnerships and Growth Directorate (CPG). 6.4 During tenancy Throughout the tenancy Housing SA or relevant PGP are responsible for tenancy management in accordance with relevant Housing SA or CPG policies. Mental Health Services is expected to provide support in accordance with the Memorandum of Administrative Arrangement. This includes the preparation of care plans and review of the care plans as required to enable sustainable tenancies. 6.5 Ongoing vacancy management; roles and responsibilities 6.5.1 Housing SA Housing SA will advise Mental Health Services of new mental health assigned properties available for tenancy and subsequent vacancies in these properties as soon as possible and not less than four weeks before a new tenancy is expected to commence. 1 Housing SA is responsible for ensuring the vacant property is available by the notified date . If the property is not ready by that time, then Housing SA will be responsible for any ‘lost’ rent for the period until the property is ready. Housing SA will allocate tenancies for properties funded for the Mental Health Supported Social Housing initiative in accordance with 6.3 of this Policy and as per the Mental Health – Supported Social Housing Procedures attached to this Policy. 6.5.2 PGP PGPs own, and are therefore responsible for, the properties allocated to them. PGPs are required to notify Mental Health Services as soon as they become aware of vacancies in these properties. PGPs are required to allocate tenancies in accordance with 6.3 of this Policy and as per the Mental Health – Supported Social Housing Procedures attached to this Policy. The PGP is responsible for notifying MHS within two (2) working days of becoming aware of the termination of the existing tenancy. 1 ‘Notified date’ in this context refers to the date that the hand over of the property is completed to the satisfaction of the Housing SA region. Mental Health - Supported Social Housing Properties Policy (v1.0 1 September 2010) Page 3 of 5 Housing SA CONNECTED ETHICAL BRAVE RESPECTFUL Printed version of this document may be superseded – Refer to online policies and procedures for most current version 6.5.3 Mental Health Services For Housing SA properties, Mental Health Services is responsible for identifying suitable nominees for properties during the four week period before the new tenancy is expected to commence. Mental Health Services and Housing SA will be jointly responsible for keeping vacancy turn around times to a minimum; with the option of the property being tenanted by a Category 1 public housing applicant if no suitable nominated MHS client is available within 4 weeks of the property being declared vacant. If this occurs, a substitute property may be allocated, provided a suitable property is available in the same region by the relevant Housing SA region to ensure the overall property allocations remain constant. For PGP properties, Mental Health Services is responsible for having a tenant ready to occupy the property within 14 days of the property being vacated; and the PGP is responsible for notifying MHS within two (2) working days of becoming aware of the termination of the existing tenancy. Where Mental Health Services does not identify a suitable nominee within this timeframe, Mental Health Services shall pay to the PGP a rental amount for the housing at a rate to be agreed between the parties until a tenancy has been allocated. If, at the time the property is vacated there is reasonable grounds for MHS to question the suitability of the property for tenanting within the timeframe (e.g. the property requires necessary repair), then the start date for the rent will be negotiated. 6.6 Reporting De-identified information obtained through Mental Health Supported Social Housing nominations may be used for Commonwealth and State outcome reporting. 7 Definitions COAG = Council of Australian Governments Care Coordinator is the term now in use in the Mental Health sector to refer to key workers or case managers Care Plan is the term being adopted by the Mental Health sector for all case management plans for consumers Hold ownership in residential property means that the “principal applicant” or any member of his/her household who is named in the application and/or who “normally resides” with the principal applicant, is EITHER: • recorded on, or holds title of, a residential property (e.g. Torrens Title, Strata Title, Community Title, Moiety Title) OR • holds a valid form of lease or agreement where a dwelling is sited on a title owned by others (e.g. shacks sited on Crown land, transportable homes or units sited in caravan parks). Note: other types of property which are used for residential purposes (such as caravans, motor homes etc) will not be considered as residential property. Housing SA Housing SA is the administrative mechanism through which the South Australian Housing Trust (SAHT) Board delivers its services and through which it takes advantage of opportunities presented by the National Affordable Housing Agreement and other National Housing Partnership Agreements including the Nation Building and Economic Stimulus Plan. The delivery of housing services is undertaken by Housing SA under a Performance Agreement whereby it delivers its services on behalf of the SAHT. Independent income means regular (weekly, fortnightly etc) income from a wage or salary (whether full time, part time or casual) any Centrelink or similar (e.g. Veterans Affairs) payment, superannuation, investment income or interest. National Affordable Housing Agreement (NAHA) replaces the Commonwealth State Housing Agreement and became effective 1 January 2009, aims to ensure that all Australians have access to affordable, safe, and sustainable housing which contributes to social and economic participation. It provides the framework for Mental Health - Supported Social Housing Properties Policy (v1.0 1 September 2010) Page 4 of 5 Housing SA CONNECTED ETHICAL BRAVE RESPECTFUL Printed version of this document may be superseded – Refer to online policies and procedures for most current version all levels of government to work together to improve housing affordability for low and moderate income households, through partnership arrangements with the States. Preferred Growth Providers (PGPs) PGPs are organisations assessed by the State Government as being high capacity and high quality not-for-profit housing providers that are able to best maximise housing outcomes based on current and future funding opportunities. Resident of South Australia means the “principal applicant” must be living in the State of South Australia at the time of applying. No minimum period of residency must otherwise be satisfied before being eligible to apply for housing. Support services are designed to assist a tenant to sustain their tenancy, including through tenancy support, advocacy, case management, financial counselling and referral services. Supported Social Housing is an initiative which provides mental health nominated tenants with a package of support including stable and affordable housing and access to flexible and individualised support services. It may be for the duration of the need, long-term or transitional housing. Its main focus may be on stabilising housing or on other issues such as employment or health. There are two key components to Mental Health Supported Housing: • The provision of safe and secure rental housing that is affordable to people with mental health issues; and • The provision of support services by Community Mental Health Services and non-government staff with appropriate skills and experience to enable tenants to sustain housing in the longer term. 8 Policy Approval Author: Director: Executive: Date: Date: Date: Name: Wendy Hackel Name: Alison Kimber Name: Olive Bennell Position: Senior Policy Officer Position: A/Director, Community Position: Director, Strategy, Policy & Aboriginal Partnerships & Growth Outcomes Mental Health - Supported Social Housing Properties Policy (v1.0 1 September 2010) Page 5 of 5 Housing SA CONNECTED ETHICAL BRAVE RESPECTFUL