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Prestigious welfare services for intervention at the Hamburg House

After the outbreak of COVID-19, state health officials investigated the Hamburg House and found uncapped needles, fluid-stained mattresses, broken windows, and rotten food.

Wintlingham and The Base staff, once colloquially known, took care of former residents for three months until they found suitable long-term accommodation.

Residents evacuating from Hamburger House after the outbreak of COVID in August 2020.credit:Chris Hopkins

“They had trauma, they were ill,” Ms. Burns said. “I was scared of what they experienced and how vulnerable they were.”

Wintingham, a co-winner of the 2021 Victorian Homeless Achievement Award, was excellent at ending adult homelessness by caring for the former Hamburgon House residents of the base.

Ms. Burns hopes that what happened at Hamburgon House, one of Victoria’s more than 100 supported housing services, will be a wake-up call for state regulators, departments, and healthcare providers. I’m out. Standards vary widely from family to family, but governments have long been warned of abuse, negligence and even violence in this area.

“We saw those people at that level of negligence,” said Ms. Burns.

“I’ve heard many times that people working in the field and medical services have nothing we can do, just give up. I hope it changes.”

Ms. Burns said she didn’t want to see the supported housing services shut down because residents often have no other place to go.

“We want to see better support, better money to get in, and better regulation with some teeth.”

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She hopes that the story of the Hamburg House is also a call for the awakening of the National Insurance Agency for the Disabled. In fear that NDIS has led to conflicts of interest, assault and the potential for exploitation in supported housing services.

Both Victorian Public Advocate and the Mental Health Legal Center have raised concerns with federal and state authorities that some of the owners of supported housing services may be “double dips.”

“One of the best foundations of NDIS is that people with disabilities have choice and control, and some SRS residents. [supported residential services] There is no choice and control, “Burns said.

Jenny Smith, CEO of the Homeless Council, said Ms. Burns was at the forefront of turning an inhuman and dangerous night shelter into a safe and assisted crisis response model. ..

“She has worked as a senior service manager and as a government policymaker at the forefront of providing direct support,” Smith said.

Ms. Burns said one of her most proud moments was closing the doors of the Gil Memorial Hostel, which has a 50-bed dormitory, and opening Flagstaff, a pioneering model of critical accommodation. ..

Gil Memorial for Men

Gil Memorial for Men

The Flag Staff had 64 rooms, each with its own bathroom and on-site health support associated with social work. “People can come and go 24/7. We worked really hard to minimize the rules,” Burns said.

When she was working at Gil, she met Archie, an Aboriginal man who was a member of the stolen generation and had been in and out of facilities and prisons throughout his life.

“He was a famous face in the homeless department,” she said.

Ms. Burns has been in contact for years, providing assistance when needed, and eventually arranging to move to the Salvation Army-run James Barker Elderly Care Center in Footscray.

“He died of a heart attack in front of the TV. I think it changed Archie, so I still cry,” Burns said.

“For those who have lived such a terrifying life, dying in such a peaceful way is worth it. I want to give everyone the opportunity that Archie had and allow people to grow older. I am thinking.”

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Prestigious welfare services for intervention at the Hamburg House

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