A partnership to write home about

The program helps to break the cycle of long-term homelessness (Sacred Heart Mission)

Melbourne's Sacred Heart Mission will deliver Victoria's first "social impact bond" with the Victorian Government, resulting in an expansion of its innovative homeless program, Melbourne Catholic reports.

The social impact bond is a partnership with government, the social services sector and investors to create lasting positive change for communities and individuals. The method has been used worldwide to address complex social issues.

Martin Foley, Victoria's Minister for Housing, Disability and Ageing as well as Minster for Mental Health, praised Sacred Heart Mission's Journey To Social Inclusion (J2SI) program, which aims to combat homelessness.

"Sacred Heart Mission has been working on an innovative way to tackle homelessness in St Kilda and we look forward to helping them expand this project," Mr Foley said.

Sacred Heart chief Cathy Humphrey said confirming this next stage of the J2SI vision will increase the mission’s capacity to make a real impact by significantly contributing to ending chronic homelessness in Melbourne.

"SHM has been developing, piloting, modifying, evaluating and scaling J2SI for over 10 years," Ms Humphrey said.

"This has been achieved through extensive research by Sacred Heart Mission and others on the causes and consequences of long-term homelessness, and the rigorous testing of the J2SI intervention though randomised control trials to ensure people can escape the cycle of chronic homelessness."

The J2SI social impact bond will fund the J2SI program, offering 180 participants support for three years, beginning in August 2018.

Under the bond structure, Sacred Heart Mission and investors will receive payments from government if specific outcomes are achieved.

"J2SI is part of a series of initiatives the Victorian Government is working on to address homelessness and rough sleeping, including our $9.8 million Towards Home project and the $50 million Rapid Housing Assistance program," Mr Foley said.

The J2SI program takes a housing-first approach, that supports people to get and sustain housing. Participants are encouraged to build skills necessary for further employment, training, education and volunteering, ultimately fostering independence.

Housing for the participants has been negotiated as part of the program.


Victoria’s first Social Impact Bond will create lasting change for people experiencing homelessness (Melbourne Catholic)

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