Voice of a Social Worker “It can be difficult but it’s incredibly important.”

A Launch Housing social worker reflects on a career supporting people in crisis at Launch Housing’s St Kilda entry point, in this two part series Voice of a Social Worker.

“People come into the St Kilda homelessness entry point, and they may be totally overwhelmed. So giving them information to help them know it’s manageable, is one of the most meaningful parts of my job.” – Etta

Etta started her career in the homelessness sector by supporting families in crisis, and then moved to assertive outreach work as part of the Rough Sleepers Initiative, eventually joining the Initial Assessment and Planning (IAP) team at Launch Housing St Kilda entry point.

While it’s a tough job, Etta knows someone has to do it, to be there for people.

Etta comments: “Much of what we do at St Kilda IAP is related to linking people into healthcare services, and temporary stays at accommodation. It’s a high point of the role to be well placed to help others.”

The IAP support staff frequently witness the impact of domestic and family violence, referring many people into Safe Steps. Also, they have strong connections to Tenancy Support and liaise with organisations such as Frontyard Youth Services and The Alfred Hospital.

Motivated to continue linking and supporting people in a crisis, Etta has faced many challenging days at IAP, but is “proud to be part of the team.”

Essential Support for People in Crisis

The Launch Housing St Kilda homelessness entry point is essential, and supports many people by helping them get off the street.

A crucial advantage of IAP is in the ability to coordinate services specific to the needs of clients, so people in a housing crisis don’t have to scour the city to find the right service.

Personally Etta relates to the benefits of the IAP service, as in the past she’s contacted many housing crisis services when a family member experienced homelessness some years ago.

“IAP centralises the information, so people don’t have to go to each service separately. Having known someone who needed crisis accommodation, I found it overwhelming to call around to find services at different centres. Filling out individual applications to access support can be incredibly frustrating.”

Dissimilar Experiences of Homelessness

Many homelessness programs and responses exist, but the fact remains that no two people have the same story about how they came to be in crisis. Each situation is unique.

The IAP is like having a central hub for clients in terms of services and support so they don’t have to repeat their story and situation to each service.

“It can be difficult but it’s incredibly important. You’re the first face the clients see, the first step to a safe and sustaining household. You’re changing lives.” – Etta

A Gateway to Services – Homelessness Entry Points

The Victorian homelessness system is organised into designated homelessness access points. This framework, called Opening Doors, provides a coordinated homelessness service response for people in the community.

The Initial Assessment and Planning (IAP) workers provide an assessment, housing information and assistance to individuals and families in a housing crisis at these entry points.

IAP services are offered at Launch Housing Collingwood, St Kilda, and Cheltenham.

Learn more about Initial Assessment and Planning services.

Read Part Two Voice of a Social Worker.