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Collaboration opens doors

Dyson* was facing an uncertain future, with limited independent living options, when his case worker reached out to Ruah.

A long history of homelessness, substance abuse and mental health issues, including paranoid schizophrenia, led the 28-year-old to a room in the mental health ward at Sir Charles Gardener Hospital. It was a place he had been before and a place that had become his temporary home as transitional accommodation service providers were unable to take him due to his chaotic presentation and complex mental health history.

After two months in hospital, his case worker was having difficulty finding suitable accommodation, so they brought together a team from Ruah, UnitingCare West and Cyrenian House to find a solution.

Working collaboratively, the team identified a transitional accommodation option that would accept Dyson subject to additional wraparound support services being provided, including that:

  • the Ruah-led 50 Lives 50 Homes After-Hours Support team would visit him in the evenings and weekends when the accommodation was unstaffed;
  • Cyrenian House would provide a specialist alcohol and drug counsellor;
  • UCW’s case worker would make regular visits; and
  • WA Health Mental Health Clinical Outreach Team would provide additional mental health support.

With this plan in place, Dyson was able to leave the hospital system and enter stable, quality accommodation with supports to help him achieve positive life change.

Over time, Dyson was supported to connect into community events and recreational opportunities, develop practical skills like cooking, shopping and financial management, and settle into his new surrounds. All the time, each of the agencies stayed connected to coordinate the best support for Dyson.

After several months in the accommodation, Dyson’s case was reviewed and he became an outreach client. His support was transitioned to Ruah’s Intensive Housing Team, which specialises in providing casework to people who have experienced homelessness and have recently been discharged from psychiatric hospitals.

The 28-year-old now enjoys a positive and more productive life. He enjoys fortnightly visits with his daughter, which were previously not permitted, and he is working to reduce his alcohol and drug use. With ongoing support from Ruah, he continues to develop his practical living skills well beyond Western Australia’s hospital walls – within, and as part of, the community.