What is Future Directions for Homelessness?

Future Directions for Homelessness is a plan for reform, for the homelessness and domestic and family violence services sector to partner with each other and with the SA Housing Authority through an Alliance model to improve system-wide and client outcomes.

We need a service system that works together sharing decisions and collective responsibility to achieve our common goal of services and supports for people that are easy to access, effective and joined up so we can best meet the needs of vulnerable South Australians.

The key aims of the reformed system are to:

  • prevent people from becoming homeless
  • ensure people get the right support they need, when they need it
  • ensure people can be rapidly rehoused into safe, stable, and long-term housing so they don’t cycle in and out of homelessness.

What is the Alliance model, and how will it deliver whole-of-systems improvements?

An Alliance is a contractual model enabling government and non-government parties to collectively deliver outcomes. Members of an Alliance work collaboratively knowing that the benefits in doing so are greater than those obtained by acting individually. This collective ownership of opportunities and responsibilities, together with shared decision making, creates a collaborative environment.

Alliancing enables:

  • collective ownership, responsibility and accountability
  • best-for-outcomes decision making
  • pooling of skills, assets and experience
  • collective responses to external influences and risk
  • transparent open-book access to financial, operational and performance data
  • robust conversations and working through potential conflict to develop improved and unanimous decision making
  • innovation and flexibility to evolve over time.

SA Housing Authority will work alongside service providers. SA Housing Authority will be represented on the Alliance Leadership Team for each Alliance, and representatives from the Authority’s executive and senior management group will be members of the Alliance System Steering Group.

How will the Alliance model improve service delivery?

The goal of the Alliance model is to improve coordination and collaboration between providers by reducing barriers to cross-agency cooperation so that clients receive the full range of services and support they need to transition from homelessness to secure housing. The movement to an outcomes focus will also allow service providers more choice and freedom to alter their service approaches to better meet the needs of the clients they serve, whether that be through implementing best-practice strategies emerging from other jurisdictions or research projects, or through localised strategies identified through harnessing lived experience. Providers are encouraged to drive improvements in service delivery through continuous refinement of their Services and working together with other Providers to deliver a more holistic and joined-up response for clients with complex support needs.

How will the SA Housing Authority support the sector to develop the Alliance?

The Authority is committed to working with the sector to support the transition and mobilisation of the Alliances. The Authority is conducting a substantial Alliance coaching and support program for the sector.

A series of three workshops were held on 13 October, 27 October and 3 November, to give Providers more information about the Alliance model, and an opportunity to provide feedback.

These workshops covered topics such as:

  • Alliance model
  • collaborative partnering behaviours
  • forming an Alliance
  • tendering for an Alliance
  • Alliance commercial model
  • transitional arrangements.

Materials from the Workshops are available on the SA Housing Authority website.

Is the Alliance reducing funding or reducing administrative costs for the SA Housing Authority?

No. Funding across the system will be maintained. The goal is to make sure the funding is being spent more efficiently and effectively at a whole of system level to provide better services to vulnerable South Australians. The SA Housing Authority is committed to actively and heavily investing in the Alliances and the Authority’s general costs are funded separately.

Are some services being defunded?

Current contracts for all in-scope Services end on 30 June 2021 and will not be renewed. All of the funding for those Services will be available through the Alliance model from 1 July 2021, and providers of those Services have the opportunity to form consortia to tender for the new Alliances. The Services being funded under the Alliances will be determined as result of the Alliance tendering process.

What will the Alliances look like, and how will they ensure specialist services and the voices of smaller providers are maintained in the system?

Under the Alliance model, the SA Housing Authority will contract four regional based Alliances (two metropolitan and two country) and a specialist statewide DFV service Alliance, consisting of consortia of providers.

The four regional Alliances represent a similar service and population spread. The four regional and the statewide DFV Alliances will deliver a range of coordinated services, supported by an Alliance System Steering Group.  It is expected that each Alliance will be comprised of multiple service providers, including specialists and larger and smaller organisations.

The inner-city services will sit within the Adelaide South Regional Alliance. In line with feedback from the sector highlighting the importance of connections between inner-city Services and all Alliances, a dedicated Inner-City Services Sub-Committee of the Alliance System Steering Group will be established to ensure interface with the inner-city providers is a core responsibility of all regions, and promote collaborative effort to prevent and respond to rough sleeping across all Alliances. The committee will also assist in sharing best practice approaches to assertive outreach, Service coordination and Service technologies, including those that have been trialled within the Adelaide South Alliance and can potentially be applied to other locations across the state. While the Adelaide South Alliance will continue to be responsible for delivery of Services in the inner-city, all providers will have responsibility for contributing to the development of effective exit pathways for inner-city clients.

The contract for each Alliance will be between SA Housing Authority and the identified consortium members, each of which will be a signatory to the contract and have equal contractual status. The Alliance Leadership Team (ALT) for each Alliance will comprise representatives from SA Housing Authority, and the identified consortium members. The ALT will be charged with making unanimous Alliance decisions on a best-for-outcomes basis, ensuring all voices are heard. Alliances will not be separate legal entities, but there will be an Alliance contract setting out binding obligations of all parties.

Why aren’t Aboriginal Services separated out into a specialist Alliance?

Aboriginal clients are overrepresented in our specialist homelessness and domestic and family violence services, representing approximately 28% of all clients. In this context, there is a need to embed Aboriginal cultural capability across the whole system and every Alliance.

To facilitate cultural capability, Alliances are encouraged to develop and sustain partnerships with Aboriginal Community-Controlled Organisations. The tender process will preference bids that include Aboriginal organisations as consortium members.  The goal is to have Aboriginal organisations as members of each Alliance..

Is there a set number of organisations in each Alliance? Can organisations lead, bid on, or be in, multiple Alliances?  Can organisations which are not current providers be part of the Alliances?

Each Alliance is expected to include a range of larger, smaller and specialist providers. It is up to the Participants to form and determine the membership of their Consortium; there is no obligation for all current providers within a region to be included in the Consortium. South Australia’s Homelessness Alliance is an open tender, therefore Consortia may include organisations that are not current providers. Each Participant has an equal say at the ALT to make sure all voices and perspectives actively contribute. Funding and responsibility for Services within an Alliance will be allocated between Providers in line with the successful Consortium response.

There is no set number of Alliance members imposed. The Tender is clear on the Service Types required for each Alliance, and each bidding consortium will need to make their own assessment of whether it has capability across all required Service Types.
Sector organisations should be focussing on making sure they are forming consortia with all required Service Types covered, including cohort specific and specialist responses.

Service providers may participate in multiple Alliances provided they have capacity to deliver the required Service in multiple geographic areas. A provider may also be part of two Alliances where they deliver Services for both Generic and DFV cohorts in a single geographic area.

It is important to note in this context that regional boundaries are not fixed for clients. There needs to be a commitment to outcomes for all clients, understanding that this may involve delivery of services across boundaries. Clients need to be able to move seamlessly between boundaries and still receive support.

Do Providers that operate across the alliance region boundaries need to be part of more than one alliance?

The majority of programs are aligned to the regional boundaries and are therefore based within a single discrete region. Despite this, providers may tender to be part of multiple consortia, for example, if they deliver multiple programs which fall within different Alliance regions.

Where a program is delivered statewide, funding has been allocated between regions on a population basis, for example the Adolescent Community Brokerage Service. Alliances will need to develop mechanisms for cross-alliance referrals to ensure clients receive services based on need and are not disadvantaged by regional differences.

My Service provides responses to people who are from outside of the Alliance boundaries. Will funding arrangements recognise this?

Funding levels for each alliance are based on the funding currently allocated to the existing Services within the newly formed Alliance areas, and therefore the Alliance allocation includes funds to support the delivery of services to an extended geographic area where this is currently occurring (for example Services that are based in a discrete metro area but provide services statewide), noting it will be up to each Alliance to determine their proposed Service Network and distribution of funding between Alliance Participants.

How can Providers best engage in open and transparent practices in Alliances where they may be competitors in other fields, such as aged care or disability?

Potential participants with multiple operations will need to make their own assessment as to whether the Alliance model, including the obligations of transparency and information sharing, is right for them when balanced against their other operations. It is open to interested participants to prefer other operations and elect not to take part in tendering for the Alliances.

How do Alliances interact with Non-Alliance parties?

The sector currently has strong connections to other Services and sectors, and the Authority expects this to continue. While the Alliances themselves are a contractual model with funded specialist homelessness and DFV Services, Alliances will be able, and encouraged, to partner with non-SHS stakeholders to achieve successful client outcomes.

The longer-term aspiration is that the Alliances provide a platform for collaborative service delivery across sectors. An Alliance System Steering Group will seek to engage human services providers within different sectors to support holistic responses for clients.

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I’m not a funded SHS-provider but operate social services that link with a number of SHS services within a region. Can I be included on the list of current services in the region?

The list of in-scope programs, the current provider of these programs, and the current allocation of funding to these programs, separated into the new regions, is available as part of the tender documents. This enables non-SHS providers to connect with the current funded service providers.

What do the Alliance Service Types look like in relation to the Alliance Outcomes?

The Alliance members provide the listed Alliance Service Types within a Service Network as proposed by them to achieve the Alliance Outcomes. Each Sector Participant has allocated responsibility for one or more Services, with each Service including a number of Service Types. Alliance funding is split between providers in line with the Services and funding allocations the consortia specify in their tender response and will be locked in via the Alliance Agreement. All Sector Participants are responsible for development of the Outcomes Framework and ensuring the Services and the Service Types they deliver are contributing to the aims of the Outcomes Framework. Service Types can change over time to meet Outcomes, with unanimous ALT approval.

What are ‘value add’ approaches and how are they intended to look within the new framework?

The Alliance model gives providers flexibility to determine the design of their Services to achieve the specified Service Types and contribute to the overarching client and system outcomes. Accordingly, providers have flexibility to incorporate non-funded (eg value-add activities) to their homelessness and domestic and family violence services, for example, activities funded through other funding partners or philanthropy.

How will data be managed in the Alliances?

The H2H system will allow for reporting to be done at an individual Service level and whole of Alliance level. It will maintain compliance with Commonwealth requirements administered though the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare.

We acknowledge that different organisations are currently running their own Client Record Management Systems (CRMs) and that there are challenges in sharing information between these systems.

Alliances will need to develop integrated data and information sharing processes for their Alliances. These processes will need to incorporate pre-existing systems including H2H and data held by individual organisations.

It is also possible that new types of data collection may be developed as part of a collaborative process. For example, the Adelaide Zero Project has developed dashboard reporting on rough sleeper inflows and outflows.

Where does housing fit into the Alliances?

Specialist Homelessness Services (SHS) will continue to manage crisis accommodation. In addition, SHS will continue to work alongside Community Housing Providers (CHP) in the delivery of transitional and supportive housing for SHS clients.

Longer term housing options are primarily provided though public housing, community housing and the private rental market. The Authority, as a part of the Alliances, provides the opportunity to better align public housing allocations with SHS support.

The role of Alliances will be to develop links with local housing providers to secure accommodation for clients at the earliest possible time and where necessary, provide support and advocacy to assist clients to access and successfully maintain their accommodation.
The Adelaide Zero Project and the COVID-19 response have demonstrated opportunities for linking highly vulnerable clients with social housing priority assessment and allocation processes.

Will there be the same number of houses allocated to Alliances as currently exists in the sector? What properties will be included in the Alliances?

Specialist homelessness and DFV Services will continue to manage crisis and transitional accommodation, and some longer-term housing options, that are owned by the SA Housing Authority. Where providers own assets, it will be at each provider’s discretion as to whether the tender response for the Alliance they are part of incorporates any assets they own.

A list of current housing within each region is provided on the SA Housing Authority website, noting that some of these assets may be owned by providers and therefore not guaranteed to be part of the future Alliance arrangements.

A list of available SAHA owned housing to be allocated to each region is provided as part of the tender.

What will housing allocation look like in a statewide DFV Alliance?

The DFV Alliance will continue to manage crisis accommodation, transitional accommodation and connect clients to longer-term accommodation. The alliance will support clients to obtain priority access to social rental housing. The DFV Alliance will also play a key role in the coordination of security upgrades to allow people experiencing domestic and family violence to remain in their own accommodation where it is safe to do so.

What role will Community Housing Providers play in the new Alliance, and what will be their relationship with Service Providers?

Alliances are encouraged to form links with Community Housing Providers. There are a number of CHPs who are also SHS providers and partnerships with CHPs will be critical to the success of Alliances.

Alliances will be able, and encouraged, to form links with CHPs to build effective housing pathways for clients in the same way as the Alliances will link with health and other service systems. The role of alliances will be to develop links with local housing providers to secure accommodation for clients at the earliest possible time and where necessary, provide support and advocacy to assist clients to successfully access and maintain their accommodation.

What does Housing First mean in the context of the current housing supply?

Housing First is a principle that safe and secure housing should be quickly provided without being conditional upon engaging in other types of support. In embedding Housing First we are seeking to reduce the risk of homelessness through prevention work, reducing the length of homelessness, and supporting people to maintain safe and secure accommodation.

There will be opportunities for the Alliance System Steering Group to work with the SA Housing Authority to co-design an improved public housing allocations model that provides better and more responsive exits from homelessness Services.

What can successful rapid rehousing look like within the current housing supply?

Successful rapid rehousing involves assertively working with our clients to remove barriers to successful housing. This housing focus includes expediting and streamlining system processes (including Housing Needs Assessments and housing applications). Important elements include providing linkages to income support, financial assistance, and other Services to support people to access private rental accommodation. It also includes assistance and advocacy to access social rental housing on a priority basis.

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