Research Reports and Evaluations - Page 23

Settlement clients often found out about the program through their involvement in English classes facilitated and organised by WCC. Settlement clients generally accessed the HBSP for both financial assistance and help in navigating their way around the private rental sector. Another client reported finding out about the program after reading a news article on a former client that had been assisted by the program. Clients who accessed the service with histories of homelessness or longer-term housing insecurity were typically engaged with a number of other housing and welfare services in the area and have relied on the housing service system for ongoing support over a long period of time in order to meet their day to day and ongoing support needs. Clients with experience of longer-term housing instability were typically referred to the program via other support services. Individuals with highly complex needs continued to be supported through a range of programs, including WCC after receipt of their brokerage loan. to secure the property. Although the amount is limited to the total pool of funds that is available and only a small number of clients can be assisted in a given year. Being able to adjust repayments as circumstances changed, either as a result of unexpected events that impacted upon cash flow or whether circumstances improved from gaining employment was a further strength of the model. All clients interviewed received a brokerage loan to assist with the shortfall in savings but the amounts of housing assistance required varied. Some clients were in need of the full amount of rent in advance for a month whilst others reported accessing a number of services to try to ‘package together’ enough money. Whilst some clients reported being able to access existing government provided Housing Establishment Fund (HEF) money, the amount was not enough to meet the full month of rent in advance that is required to secure the property. Some clients reported accessing HEF brokerage money for two weeks rent in advance and then make up the difference for the remaining two weeks with a brokerage loan from WCC. I was initially receiving support from [another service] but they were not really able to help with my housing and I was transitioned to WCC [Client interview]. I contacted other housing services – we got some funds from them two weeks rent HEF money. I have been using services for a long time – have been homeless. With WCC you know the money is guaranteed and there are no delays. There are a few other services but they are not in the zone so I was not able to access this support [Client interview]. I have been coming to WCC for a long time using different programs including their English classes. I was already connected to the service [Client interview]. 5.1.2 Flexible and collaborative approach to loan management I received some HEF funding from another service but it was not enough to meet the full months rent so I combined the HEF money with the loan. I am very happy with the service. I repay $20 coming out of my Centrelink pay. There are no problems [Client interview]. A common theme amongst clients with respect to the reasons for seeking assistance was the difficulty they experienced in raising money for a new property whilst still paying rent and existing bills for the housing they were living in or recently moved out of. A critical strength of the model, and where it was considered to be filling existing service gaps in private rental support programs, is the flexibility to provide the amount that is needed 16