Supported housing for people living with mental illness - project update December 2021

Department of Families, Fairness and Housing
30 Dec 2021

Supported housing co-design

In October, Homes Victoria commenced a co-design process for supported housing for adults living with mental illness. The co-design process is a critical part of implementing recommendations made by the Royal Commission into Victoria’s Mental Health System in relation to supported housing for people living with mental illness.

The first stage of co-design is complete. It involved focus groups with 25 participants, including people with lived experience of mental illness and unstable housing or homelessness, carers, Aboriginal Victorians, members of the LGBTIQ+ community, people from culturally and linguistically diverse backgrounds, and people who have been in contact with the justice system. Participants were from a mix of age groups and live in rural, regional, and metropolitan areas.

Eight key themes emerged through these focus groups, which will inform design and testing in future co-design stages. The key themes are:

  • homes should be designed with individual wellbeing and functional needs in mind
  • having access to stable housing allows people to start moving past what they need and focus on what they want
  • housing and support services need to be flexible to meet both the current and evolving needs of individuals and families
  • connection to the community is key in instilling a sense of belonging and facilitating longer-term tenancies
  • security and privacy are fundamental, and the level provided should be a personal choice
  • critical success factors of support include having consistent, reliable and readily accessible services
  • people’s experiences navigating the system depend on individual support systems and how they are feeling at the time
  • people want to be seen and heard by their service providers for their current and future needs and goals to be truly understood.

Co-design will continue into early 2022 and will include testing of key concepts and findings, and seeking feedback on the desirability of concepts, as well as feasibility and viability.

Sector engagement

Engagement with the mental health and housing sectors is also underway as part of the co-design process. To date, there have been three-sector focus groups attended by representatives from 12 community housing, mental health, community health and wellbeing support organisations.

In addition, service providers were invited to provide written input as part of the engagement process, and more than 50 reports, research findings and evaluations were submitted.

Engagement with the sectors will continue through the design and testing stage in early 2022.

A stakeholder reference group (SRG) has been established to provide input and advice to Homes Victoria’s project team. The SRG includes representatives from 2 community housing agencies, housing peak bodies, 2 Area Mental Health and Wellbeing Services, and lived experience peak bodies. Stakeholders who are not part of the SRG were invited to participate in the co-design process in other ways, including via the sector focus groups and written submissions.

A Request for Registration of Interest was sent to the community housing sector to register their interest in participating in the Mental Health Supported Housing Round of the Social Housing Growth Fund in 2022. Community housing agencies that register their interest will be provided with regular co-design updates and be invited to participate in co-design activities.

What Homes Victoria is delivering

  • 2,000 homes will be delivered under the Big Housing Build as supported housing for adults living with mental illness who require ongoing intensive treatment, care, and support.
  • At least 500 of these homes will be delivered as customised dwellings that will be procured under the Social Housing Growth Fund grants program.
  • The co-design that has commenced will inform the customised dwellings and mental health and wellbeing support model/s for adults.
  • Co-design of medium-term supported housing for young people aged 18-25 will occur in early 2022.

Next steps

The co-design process for supported housing for adults will continue over the coming months. A report of interim findings will be available in February 2022. It will be made available on the Homes Victoria website.

More information

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