HAVEN; Home Safe has merged with a Melbourne-based housing and homelessness service.
The Bendigo organisation announced the merger with North East Housing Services to staff yesterday.
The Preston-based service will become part of Haven; Home Safe, but maintain a metropolitan office.
North East Housing Service chief executive Haleh Homaei will become the Melbourne-based deputy chief executive of Haven; Home Safe.
The merger will see the number of properties managed by Haven increase by more than 300.
Haven Home Safe chief executive Ken Marchingo said the move allowed the organisation to deliver the unique service offered in Bendigo “all the way into the heart of the capital city”.
We can do more things for more people and ... grow the services for people who are in need
“That means we can do more things for more people and have a much better platform to continue to grow the services for people who are in need,’’ he said.
“This is very unusual for homelessness and housing services to be able to deliver a single platform of service delivery that is consistent from Melbourne to Mildura.
“It’s also unusual particularly given some of the recent news in recent weeks in Bendigo, it’s very unusual for a regionally- based service to be acquiring metropolitan-based services.’’
Mr Marchingo said the move would allow a regional organisation to reflect entirely the divisional region the department of human services operates.
He said the possibilty of change by government from time-to-time in terms of dividing up geographics was a potential threat to all regional services, but Haven; Home Safe was now able to put in front of the Department of Human Services a single housing and homelessness platform that operated from Melbourne to Mildura.
"It positions us well to be able to use the assets we have in Melbourne and the assets we will acquire, to be able to continue a development program and continue to drive not only reform as the state government housing department perceive its reform, but also allows us to continue to leverage that value to deliver more housing stock.
"We also expect to be able to work more closely with the Department of Human Services as they roll out their most fundamental change ever, which is called Services connect – that is a game changer for human services broadly.''
The Services Connect model looks at the needs of an individual and involves one assessment, one client record, one key worker to be a single point of contact and one plan that considers the full range of a person’s or family’s needs, goals and aspirations, and covers the full range of services they receive.
Mr Marchingo says the Haven model, developed for 20 years, was already a one-stop shop for homelessness and housing services.