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We live in a region with a desperate shortage of secure, affordable and supported long-term accommodation for people with life-long (chronic) mental illness. With a population of around 250,000, the vast and diverse region of Gippsland spreads over 44,000 square km.

Given that one in every five people (around 20% of the population) will experience some form of mental illness in their lives, the illness will impact on around 50,000 Gippslanders.

Many people in our region will experience chronic mental illness, requiring on-going clinical support and safe, secure and supported accommodation. In the absence of such support, their recovery to wellness is at risk and it increases a too-soon return to acute care. Many people are actually homeless, many are living in sub-standard and/or inappropriate dwellings, boarding houses and other shared accommodation, caravans and/or “couch-surfing”.

In an attempt to address this problem, Barrier Breakers developed a long-term accommodation and support model, which we believe is best able to meet these needs. Following widespread consultation and the negotiation of a care-model partnership with key stakeholders, we successfully lobbied the state government for support and funding for a 10-unit pilot project in Traralgon. The key stakeholders are:

Barrier Breakers Inc. – Project coordinator and provider of advocacy services to tenants

Eastcoast Housing Association – owner of the units and tenant manager

Mind Australia – provider of home-based outreach services to the tenants

Latrobe Regional Hospital Community Mental Health Services – provider of on-going clinical services

The units will provide stable, affordable and long-term accommodation, which is managed with the mental health of the tenants in the forefront.

We are pleased to announce that our commitment to raise $150,000 towards the capital cost of the units has been honoured – thanks to a very generous community and we expect to house tenants later this year. In the meanwhile, we are lobbying the state government for funding to roll-out this model of accommodation throughout Gippsland.

To this end, we are seeking a pre-election commitment from both major parties for $10 million over the next four years to build units in ten towns throughout the region.

We know this model of supported accommodation works – it is the only long-term solution to the accommodation needs of so many Gippslanders, who presently so desperately need a secure roof over their heads and the clinical and outreach support to keep them well.

It is why we are continuing with our fund-raising and public awareness campaigns.

Please join our fight for the proper care and accommodation of our most vulnerable citizens – the mentally ill. Let us all make this election year the opportunity to goad our politicians into supportive action.

Please sign our petition – YOUR SUPPORT can make a BIG DIFFERENCE  

Download Pdf  Here:  PETITION to Legislative Assembly

If you are able to assist Barrier Breakers in this important work by collecting additional signatures, we would be very grateful for your assistance.

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