OUR River to Home trial program designed by the Riverland Homelessness Service team was a finalist for a state award and featured on ABC radio, state-wide television and online.
The program supports homelessness service clients with a mentor once they have found a home to help ensure they retain their accommodation and avoid eviction.
Providing support during the transition into housing was identified as a key strategy by ac.care staff to help prevent clients from returning to sleeping rough.
ac.care client support Linda Noble said there was a lack of public housing in the Riverland and people who had been homeless faced a number of additional challenges when they secured accommodation.
“A lot of them have been homeless for a long time, possibly living on the river, and don’t know how to maintain a property,” she said.
“Some of them might not have ever been taught how to maintain a home when they were growing up because of the family make-up.”
Australian Institute of Health and Welfare statistics show many rough sleepers experienced repeat episodes of homelessness, despite support from specialist services.
However, Ms Noble said she hoped the mentoring program would help turn this trend around.
"We provide intense support and assistance to clients in a variety of ways and the impact of this support will certainly provide long-term housing sustainability and success,” she said.
The program includes a focus on health, wellbeing, social and emotional support, assistance to sustain and maintain a tenancy, budgeting advice and links to community networks.
The program was a fnalist in the South Australian Australasian Housing Institute Awards.