Overwhelming support for Homelessness Charter

The Department of Families, Housing, Community
Services & Indigenous Affairs (FaHCSIA) has received overwhelming support
from homeless people for a proposed National Homelessness Charter that would
identify the rights and responsibilities of service providers and consumers.

Consumers also support a proposed national
complaints handling system.

The proposals are included in FaHCSIA’s stage two consultations report
concerning a National Quality Framework for the Provision of Services to People
who are Homeless or at Risk.

Released earlier this
year, the FaHCSIA report is based on consultations
with service providers and with people experiencing or at risk of homelessness.
The report was produced by Ipsos-Eureka Social Research Institute and finalised
in July 2011.

During the consultation process:

  • Consumers voiced support for a National Homelessness
    Charter. This charter would be expected to identify the rights and
    responsibilities of service providers, authorities and consumers.
  • Consumers endorsed the idea of a national complaints
    handling system. An effective complaints handling procedure would ensure that
    complaints were administered confidentially and consistently, rather than in an
    ad-hoc manner. 
  • Consumers saw effective case management and
    inter-organisational communication as central to administering National Quality
  • Consumers endorsed a system of self-assessment
    alongside external assessment to enable service providers to monitor their
    progress in meeting sector standards. Consumers felt that any assessment
    process should integrate feedback from clients.

The Homeless Persons’ Legal Service (HPLS) made a
submission to the consultation, calling for a legislative-based National
Charter of Rights for Homeless People, together with a system of rights-based
National Quality Standards to drive continuous improvement for homelessness

The HPLS submits that such a right-based
approach to quality improvement must include standards to ensure the
involvement and participation of homeless people directly in matters that
involve them.

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