Rising STARH in preventing homelessness
“We support families, couples, and individuals at risk of homelessness by helping them to sustain their tenancies,” says Janet Maroney, explaining the work of the STARH (Supporting Those at Risk of Homelessness) project. Janet is the Program Coordinator at STARH, part of Wesley Mission Brisbane’s Gold Coast Services Hub at Robina.
Janet notes that ‘housing stress’ is becoming a growing problem in the Gold Coast and Logan regions.
Housing stress occurs when people are paying 50 per cent or more of their incomes on housing costs like rent or mortgage repayments.
“People are referred or self refer to STARH due to a range of risk factors,” says Janet. “This can be due to reduced employment or unemployment, family breakdown, increases in cost of living and rental costs, housing stress and mortgage stress, or physical and mental health issues.”
STARH begins their work with an initial assessment in the home of the client and then each family, couple or individual is provided with a Tenancy Support Advocate (TSA).
Each family, couple or individual is then given ongoing support by a case worker, focusing on strategies and tools to sustain their tenancy, developing capacity and resilience to manage future challenges.
“Generally 50 per cent of the people we support stay in the accommodation they were originally residing in and the other 50 per cent are assisted to move to more affordable housing options,” says Janet. “These can be cheaper rental properties or in some instances social and community housing.”
STARH is able to assist around 20 per cent of the people who contact them, working with around 64 client groups this year alone which included 44 families, 3 couples and 17 individuals.
“Even those people that the STARH Project is unable to accept onto the program often state ‘at least someone has taken the time to listen to me and point me in the right direction,” says Janet.
“Our wonderful volunteers allow us to reach out to more people so we are always looking out for more,” she says.
STARH supports people from Logan to Coolangatta.