Promoting Good Practice

Paper 15: Shine - A Spotlight on Integrating Community Resources in Rural NSW

June Price, Social Welfare Worker, ACAT Greater Southern Area Health Service, NSW

Thank God for the Partnerships Against Homelessness (PAH) "Guidelines for Field Staff to Assist People Living in Severe Domestic Squalor." Before the release of this document, attempts by an ACAT worker to gather support for a community response to this issue met with either laughter, disbelief or just plain disinterest.

Armed with "the document" safe in the knowledge that it was backed by DADHC, the worker and her social work student were able to approach over 25 local services to gauge firstly their knowledge of the issue and secondly their capacity to assist. They were then asked to be willing to be listed in a local directory and agree to being part of a collaborative approach if needed in a given situation.

Each service did have some kind of experience with domestic squalor during their course of business but most of them had no idea what they could do about it as they did not have the capabilities or the brief to provide assistance entirely on their own. They therefore put it in the too hard basket and did nothing. Each service was pleased to see that there was someone else they could contact to assist persons living in severe squalor.