From sleeping rough to a forever home

The Darebin Assertive Community Outreach program connects rough sleepers with the support services they need.

Darebin resident, Ta*, was 71 years old when they moved to Australia in 2018. After family relationships deteriorated and a rooming house where they were living was sold, Ta found themselves homeless and alone. Ta slept outside in Bundoora and around Preston Market, riding a tram route end-to-end during the day to keep warm and relatively safe.

After sleeping rough for several weeks, Ta approached Haven Home Safe seeking help. Ta was extremely vulnerable due to their significant language barrier, age, lack of service knowledge and having not experienced homelessness before. Ta was referred to the Darebin Assertive Community Outreach (DACO) program. Outreach workers connected Ta with much needed services such as the Bolton Clarke Homeless Persons Program, culturally specific services such as interpreting, cultural and age specific housing options, My Aged Care and St Vincent Aged Care Assessment Services which all responded quickly.

Ta spent two nights in emergency accommodation and was offered a room in a boarding house but it was determined that they were too vulnerable for this setting, and with all options exhausted Ta’s only alternative was to return to sleeping rough. They received a sleeping bag from DACO and discussed sleeping rough safely.

DACO consistently checked in on Ta and using the Human Rights Charter, continued to advocate for them. In a short amount of time, Ta was safely living in an over-55s property, with onsite support from the Older Persons High Rise Support Program and Food Bank.

Outreach worker Joseph says the turnaround was memorable.

“It was heartening to see services collaborate to help Ta, a first-time homeless person, transition into long-term housing in a miraculously short period of time,” Joseph says.

“I’m grateful to have been a part of Ta's care team, and I will remember this experience of working successfully to help a person exit homelessness and move into their forever home.”

There are currently more than 1,000 people experiencing homelessness in Darebin, with more than 90 sleeping rough on the street, in parks, or cars and vans.

The Darebin Assertive Community Outreach program, run by the Merri Outreach Support Service (MOSS) in partnership with Darebin Council, connects rough sleepers with the support services they need. Outreach workers visit rough sleepers where they are, providing support by linking them to housing, health and wellbeing services.

If you see someone sleeping rough in Darebin who may need support please email assertiveoutreach@darebin.vic.gov.au or call Customer Service on 03 8470 8888.

* Name changed to protect privacy.

For more information on how we’re responding to homelessness, go to darebin.vic.gov.au/homelessness