As Australia’s affordable housing crisis deepens, so does the issue of homelessness.

There are no current official figures on homelessness in Australia, but as we await the results of the 2021 Census, it’s fair to assume that there will be more than the 116,427 people counted in 2016.

Each of those 116,427 is an individual with their own unique story; their own set of circumstances that has led them to be homeless. Every case is different and each person needs support tailored to their particular needs.

That’s why Bridge Housing’s approach is based on the ‘Housing First’ model. This approach is regarded internationally as best-practice and involves providing secure, long-term housing combined with intensive, personalised ‘wrap around’ support to ensure the tenancy can be successfully maintained.

“Our STEP to Home program has been in place since 2018. In partnership with Neami National, Metro Community Housing and the Women’s Housing Company, we have successfully housed more than 90 people – primarily street sleepers – and secured long-term wellbeing outcomes for these participants,” says Operations Manager, Helen Tighe.

“It’s a proven approach that delivers results.”

The success of STEP to Home was used to inform the NSW Government response to the ongoing impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic on homeless people.

The Government’s ‘Together Home’ initiative aims to secure long-term housing for those placed in temporary accommodation as a public health measure during the outbreak.

Bridge Housing has taken on 93 people since 2020 through Together Home: the largest commitment by any community housing provider in NSW.

In 2020-21, we demonstrated our ongoing commitment to addressing homelessness with the creation of a new Housing First specialist tenancy portfolio, with a lower staffing to tenancy ratio and additional training to deliver a more specialised service.

“We are proud of the outcomes we have achieved for our Housing First tenants,” says Ms Tighe.

“We are even more proud of the outcomes our tenants have achieved for themselves.

“The difference it makes to all aspects of someone’s life: the flow-on effects of having a safe, secure home cannot be overstated.”

The Bridge Housing team asked a few of our Housing First tenants to share in their own words what having a home has meant to them. It will open your eyes.

Listen to their stories here.

Thank you to our wonderful tenants for so generously sharing your stories.