Homeless Connections & SPLaSH – Southern Peninsula

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Kara van der Heyde is the Homeless Connections Assertive Outreach Worker at Southern Peninsula Community Support, a role funded by MPF.

Kara looks out for rough sleepers who sleep hidden along the foreshore around Rosebud, Rye, and Dromana, and aims to link people back into the community. Kara says, “A lot of people sleeping rough are very disconnected from society. They don’t have a trust in services at all. So, it can take some time to engage with them. Sometimes this can look like bringing them food, or undies and socks over a couple of months and just slowly show that we’re there for them.” Once Kara makes a connection and gains trust she is able to assist with basic needs such as food and clothing but also medical assistance, mental health support, and alternative accommodation. Her work shows that there’s a lot more to solving homelessness than purely houses. Meeting people where they are and going at their pace is key to the success Kara has supporting people sleeping rough.

Homeless Connections operates in conjunction with SPLaSH a bi-weekly laundry and shower program for people who are rough sleeping in rooming houses, cars or tents. SPLaSH offers access to showers, washing machines and dryers with soap, shampoo, towels and laundry powder provided.

Food is also offered, a simple lunch and something to take away if desired. Other material aid including tents, swags and bedding is also offered.

Other support service representatives also attend SPLaSh, creating a chance for those using SPLaSH to connect with services that may be difficult for them to access. SPLaSH participants also have the opportunity to be connected or reconnected to housing services or if possible, find alternative accommodation.

“We support people how they need to be supported.”
Kara van der Heyde,
Homeless Connections Assertive Outreach Worker

The program’s reach

Partners

Southern Peninsula Community Support