For Homeless Law Pro Bono Lawyers

Cancel Loading...

Quick reference guide for non-legal issues

This is not an exhaustive reference list of services addressing non-legal issues. It is intended to be a starting point for assistance with some common issues for Homeless Law clients. There are a lot of services available and many of the following services represent advice lines or information and referral services that will start your client in the right direction. Be mindful that many welfare services are under resourced which means your client may not get immediate assistance and there may be wait times before assistance can be provided.

Homeless Persons' Liaison Officer (HPLO)

The Homeless Persons’ Liaison Officer (HPLO) is a program of Homeless Law providing non-legal support to lawyers and clients. The scope of the HPLO's role flyer provides further details.

Alcohol and other drugs

Encourage client to speak with General Practitioner about their AOD issues or contact:

Directline: 1800 888 236

This phone line is open 24/7 and provides telephone counselling, information and referrals. Directline can also advise of pharmacy vacancies for Methadone/Suboxone/Buprenorphine pick-up.

Centrelink

For income statements or other information, encourage your clients to attend at their local Centrelink office in person.

The Centrelink Community Engagement Team also operates from various locations close to the CBD that people experiencing homelessness may access via drop-in including:

Monday 1-4pm                     

The Living Room, 9 Hosier Lane, Melbourne

Tuesday 9.30 – 11.30am    

Ozanam Community Centre, 268 Abbotsford Street, North Melbourne

Monday to Thursday 12.30 – 3.30pm

St Kilda Crisis Centre, 29 Grey Street, St Kilda

Wednesday 1.00 – 4.00pm

Vincentcare, 170 Glenroy Rd, Glenroy

Wednesday 1.00 – 3.00pm

St Marks Anglican Church, 250 George Street, Fitzroy

Wednesday 1.30 – 3.30pm

YSAS, 187 Langridge Street, Abbotsford

Monday to Thursday 1 – 4pm

Frontyard (Under 25’s only), 19 King Street, Melbourne

Centrelink is also available at the following crisis accommodation services to residents only: Flagstaff Crisis Accommodation and Ozanam House. Encourage clients at these centres to speak with staff about when Centrelink visits. It is generally on a weekly basis.

Where someone is particularly vulnerable or unable to follow these instructions get their signature on this form, fax it to Centrelink (allowing two weeks for processing) and then call the relevant Centrelink phone line

Children and families

Child First is the state-wide provider for information, referrals and support to families. The list of numbers by area can be found here.

Court: Evidence and support

When seeking evidence for Court ensure that:

-  You request a fee waiver from any professionals who charge as per Homeless Law’s precedent letter

You explore all possible avenues for evidence including a Centrelink housing history, General Practitioners, allied health professionals, housing services and support workers.

If health professionals refuse to waive their fee. Contact Homeless Law to discuss access to brokerage funds to cover the payment. Access to these funds will depend on; the total amount of the infringements in question, the strength of other evidence and the fee being requested.

If after exploring avenues for evidence with your client you still cannot sufficiently establish special circumstances, contact the HPLO to discuss.

Where your client would benefit from additional support on the day of Court e.g. getting there, support at Court, appropriate court attire. Contact the HPLO.

Remember that clients can access the Salvation Army or Court Network volunteers on the day of Court for information, referral and one-off support. This is available at most Court locations.

Family violence

If there is an imminent risk of danger always advise clients to call ‘000’ otherwise contact:

Safe Steps                   1800 015 088

This is a service that provides a 24/7 phone based response to family violence concerns state-wide and can offer referrals to localised services upon an assessment of a client’s circumstances

Financial Assistance/material aid

This is food parcels, vouchers, transport tickets and other small amounts of financial aid that can assist clients to get by. It is generally only available once every few months depending on the service.

St Vincent De Paul Welfare Line        

10am – 3pm daily       1300 305 330

The Salvation Army has several locations from which it provides material aid. You can find your clients nearest service here.

The local access points (see housing), can also provide information on local material aid providers.

Financial Counselling

Money Help                 1800 007 007

Contact Money Help for over the phone assistance. They may also be able to provide information on local providers of face-to-face financial counselling.

Gamblers Help           1800 858 858

Health

Seek out your clients local Community Health Service. Many clients fall in to priority groups for community health and can be offered a range of health and allied health services through these centres. Their LCHS will be dependent on the suburb on their Health Care Card or place of residence.

For individuals who are homeless, Cohealth have the following services;

Central City Community Health Service

53 Victoria Street, Melbourne P: 9877 0700.

Cohealth Fitzroy, 75 Brunswick Street, Fitzroy run a homeless drop-in for their health services every Monday morning. Encourage clients to attend from 9am.

The Living Room, 9 Hosier Lane, Melbourne also have a general practitioner a day a week

If you have particular concerns about a client that is homeless and has health issues that are not resolving or is having difficulty accessing health services, you can refer the Royal District Nursing Service Homeless Persons’ Program P: 1300 33 44 55

Housing

Housing access points are the first point of contact for housing issues. The service your client needs to attend will be based on the address on their Health Care Card. Access points will generally require attendance in person for an assessment of their housing situation. To find your clients nearest access point P: 1800 825 955.  

The extent to which the access point can assist will depend on your client’s financial situation, citizenship status and their specific vulnerabilities and circumstances.

When talking with clients about accessing assistance:

-  Encourage them to make contact with an access point as soon as possible particularly if an eviction is foreseeable or if they are homeless.

Encourage them to attend an access point as close to 9am as possible.

Advise them they will have to wait to be seen.

-  Remind them that accessing housing support is a process, they will need to continue to engage in order to see an improvement in their situation.

Remember that not all clients want to take up the type of housing offered and some will choose to sleep rough or in their cars rather than in the accommodation offered through the access points. This is their choice.

No accommodation offered through these services is free.

See page four of this housing resource from Council to Homeless Persons’ for a diagram of the types of housing options available to people facing homelessness.

After hours and on weekends, clients should contact St Kilda Crisis Centre on 1800 627 727

Mental Health

For those with General Practitioners or who are willing to see a GP, suggest they attend and request a Mental Health Care Plan

A list of mental health support services can be found here.

The Mental Health Advice Line can be contacted on P: 1300 280 737 (state-wide) for advice for you or your client.

For young people under 25 years of age, the best point of contact is their local Headspace centre.