Housing model leads field

ORGANISATIONS across Queensland that deal with housing for people with mental health issues are lining up to study a model developed in Bundaberg.

Harts Accommodation Services is a non-profit organisation that has operated in Bundaberg for about four years.

Director Karen Bailey said the service operated four houses and a unit for people who had recovered from mental illness and were waiting for Housing Commission accommodation.

“It's preparation for them moving back into the community,” Ms Bailey said.

“If they're on a Housing Commission list it can take years to get a house, so we give them accommodation while they're waiting and when a vacancy comes up they're ready to go.”

Ms Bailey said a Rockhampton organisation was one of those that was keen to study the Harts model.

“Most of our referrals come from case workers and support workers at other organisations working with people with mental illness,” she said.

Ms Bailey said Harts kept a low profile because of misunderstanding about mental illness in the community.

At present, Harts operates four houses and a unit for people who have recovered from mental illness.

However, a new house that had been donated to the group by Bundaberg Health Promotions has recently been moved on to Elliott Heads Road.

The house was moved to make way for the GP superclinic to be built in Bundaberg.

Ms Bailey said the house would be used for long-term stable accommodation for people who had recovered from mental illness.

She said after some renovation work, the house would accommodate two people plus a caretaker.

Clients accommodated in Harts houses have to conform to a set of behaviour standards under a tenancy agreement and are interviewed for suitability following a recommendation from a local support program.

“We're very picky about who we accommodate,” Ms Bailey said.

“It's always a decision made by the management committee, who sit down and discuss it as a group.

“We sit down and talk about whether the people will mix together well, and over the years we've learnt what works and what doesn't.”



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