The Western Port Housing and Homelessness Program, has been running for just over one year thanks to MPF donors.

Before the program, people at risk of or experiencing homelessness on this side of the Peninsula needed to go to either Frankston or Dandenong, which are hard to reach by public transport.

At the Western Port Community Support Centre, Kara van der Heyde, provides support to anyone who seeks out the centre, from people who are sleeping rough, struggling to keep their homes, staying with friends or living in caravans and cars.

Kara is patient and a great listener – she helps people feel understood. She knows the system and skilfully navigates her way around in order to get the best outcomes for her clients.

Kara has collected rich data and insights into reasons behind someone becoming homeless, and what works to support them through it in this local area.

There is a shortage of affordable housing, but we have also seen great outcomes through collaborative use of existing resources.

More than half of the Western Port clients have seen favourable outcomes including saved tenancies, new private rentals and secured public housing. Under the expert guidance of Centre Manager, Georgia Hourn, Kara has provided support at a crucial tipping point in these people’s lives. And saved a lot of money otherwise spent in the crisis system.

This project is providing the right services in the right location. Projects like this help MPF develop our understanding and evidence of what works so that we can influence policy makers to make improvements to services.