HISTORY

Merri Outreach Support Service 1988 – 2016

The following is a timeline of the last 28 years and some of the milestones that have occurred along the way. It by no means exhaustive and misses much of the day to day activities and ‘texture’ of our work that adds so much to our Agency. It is, however, with a little bit of hubris, indicative of what a dynamic agency we have been. The story begins in 1988……

  • 1988 some members of the Darebin community feel they should be doing something about homelessness in their local community (essentially Darebin and Banyule).
  • A committee forms to plan a response and approach St Josephs, Northcote to “back” their plan
  • The committee, supported by St Josephs, make a submission to DHS for  funds to operate a SAAP funded program, with a focus on initially supporting single men exiting Ozanam House (the first front door?) and then “at risk” women from the Darebin and Banyule LGAs
  • Submission is successful and Merri Housing Service (MHS), as MOSS was then called, opens in High St Northcote in 1989 with a total of 3 paid staff members
  • MHS has a strong focus on consumer participation, a focus that remains to present day
  • 1992 commenced EH/HISP program, a forerunner to HIR service
  • 1994 successfully submitted for the Yarra Families Outreach program, one new staff member
  • 1997 The Homelessness Service System restructured splitting system into THM and SAAP, meaning the loss of the EH/HISP program
  • 1994 – 1999 agency at risk of not being viable and closing  due to Victorian State Government reforms to the welfare sector
  • To survive we needed to grow and commenced exploring appropriate options that fit with our mission, and values
  • MOSS decides that in order to grow it had be an all of agency approach, rather than driven by management, with all staff involved and invested in the growth – an approach or philosophy that is still important at MOSS (i.e. collaborative staff involvement in strategic development)
  • From 1998, Agency focuses on using case management as key service delivery tool
  • Committee of Management is concerned about how children supported in SAAP, a reflection of the focus on working with the most marginalised members of our community.
  • They decide MOSS will self-fund a Children’s Worker, with the hope of being able to attract ongoing DHS funding
  • The position operates from 1998 to 2001
  • This was the start of a very strong focus on Children at MOSS
  • We were not able to attract ongoing  funding and it wasn’t sustainable to keep funding the position for more that the two years it operated
  • However it put us in a strong position to win the tender for the Northern Children’s Resource Worker and we subsequently were successful with our submission
  • This position started in 2001
  • 2000 win tender for HACC funded Community Connections Program (CCP), four new staff commence
  • 2000 won tender for Housing Support for the Aged Program (HSAP), one new staff member
  • 2001 move to new office at Langwells Parade,  Northcote
  • 2001 win tender for SAAP funded program, the Crisis Response Program, four more new staff
  • Both CCP and CRP operate with Team Case Management model
  • 2002 Coburg office opens
  • 2002 the influential “Once upon a time in SAAP” research project released
  • 2002 changed name from Merri Housing Service to Merri Outreach Support Service to better reflect what we do
  • 2002 Men’s, Yarra Outreach and Women’s SAAP programs come together to form a single team
  • At that time a decision made that all programs will operate a Team Case Management model
  • 2003 Successfully tender to operate the employment related Personal Support Program funded by DEWR
  • 2004 win tender to run a pilot program – The Young Women’s Crisis Initiative, an outreach case management program with fixed entry points
  • 2004 run a pilot research program – Older People in Private Rental, essentially an outreach HIR response to older people in at risk tenancies, however with a significant (unfunded) support component
  • 2004 released the “What factors impact on peoples’ capacity to maintain long term tenancies – did the SAAP experience help them?” research report, a joint project with La Trobe University, School of Social Work.
  • 2004 successful in our submission for the SAAP support  program previously run by CAVE in Eltham
  • That program becomes part of TOST and the Yarra Outreach Program moves across to the CRP as it is a crisis focused program
  • Two MOSS staff involved in drafting committee for the development of Homelessness Assistance Standards (HAS)
  • 2005 MOSS chosen as one of four agencies involved in trialing HAS self assessment process
  • 2005 successfully submit for a YHAP funded project grant for the Same sex attracted young people service system intervention project”
  • 2006 make a successful submission to the Federal Government’s National Homelessness Strategy Grant fund
  • As a result in 2006 the 16 month  ‘Bright Futures’ demonstration and research project, with a team of 5, commences, continuing our leading role in working with children
  • 2006 Consumer Reference Group commences
  • 2006 successful in our submission for the Hume/Glenroy Homelessness assistance tender
  • 2006 MOSS-Hume transitional support program commences with 10 new staff
  • 2007 SSAYP report launched and project completed
  • 2007 successful with negotiations for the Western Children’s Resource Worker to sit with MOSS, meaning MOSS now operates the North and West Regional Children’s Resource Program
  • March 2007 Agency opens its Broadmeadows office
  • 2008 MOSS is funded through the Intensive Case Management Program to work with people in the Aboriginal Hostels
  • 2008 MOSS is contracted by DHS to research and design how to implement the ‘Bright Futures’ model in a Victorian context.
  • In November 2008 MOSS becomes one of the first agencies accredited through QICSA as a Homelessness Service Provider.
  • December 2008 MOSS began managing the Shrivings Program in the Barkly Street, Brunswick High Rise Public Housing Estate. 6 new staff commence as MOSS employees.
  • June 2009 MOSS receives short term funding from FACHSIA to further develop the ‘Bright Futures’ model of working with children.
  • As of June 2009 MOSS has 40 staff
  • January 2010 Low Cost Accommodation Support Worker starts at Brunswick’s Barkly Street High Rise Estate.
  • April 2010 MOSS submission for Homeless Children’s Specialist Support Service and “Bright Futures” commences as a DHS funded 4 EFT program (initially to June 2013).
  • July 2010 loss of Yarra “families” 1.0 EFT position
  • September 2010 Agency restructure with creation of Administration Team and employment of second Operations Manager.
  • September 2010 Older Person’s High Rise Support Worker starts at Northcote’s Holmes Street High Rise Estate.
  • Dec 2010 Receive “Well for Life” funding for a bike exchange program at both the Barkly Street and Holmes Street High Rise older persons’ public housing estates.
  • May 2011 Agency undergoes full cycle external review by QICSA.
  • May 2011 RCRP completes research into the effects of homelessness on educational outcomes.
  • May 2011 granted funds to manage Community Facilities and Tenant Participation in the Elderly Persons estates in Darebin.
  • Jan 2012 MOSS received funding for a second Older Person’s High Rise Support Worker at Holmes Street.
  • June 2012 MOSS receives funding to run a PAG in Banyule with starts in October.
  • November 2012 the Northcote office relocates from Langwells Parade to 279 High Street, Northcote.
  • January 2013 MOSS receives funding for 2 positions supporting older persons in “Active Connections Program” (ACP) – broad acres public housing estates in the City of Hume and developing a suitable practice model.
  • April 2013 MOSS receives funding for Darebin Planned Activity Group based at Holmes St estate for two days per week.
  • June 2013 merger talks commence with Catchment Youth Services.
  • December 2013 Housing Support for the Aged (HSAP) relocates from Northcote to Brunswick.
  • March 2014 Catchment, Youth and Family Program relocates to MOSS Northcote office.
  • May 2014 MOSS successfully undergoes accreditation against ISO 9001:2008, DHS Standards and Community Care Common Standards through AHA.
  • June 2014 Bright Futures receives a second 12 months funding (NPAH) extension.
  • July 2014 CCP and ACP form the “Connections Program” based at the MOSS Broadmeadows Office.
  • July 2014 Catchment Youth Services formally becomes part of MOSS as Catchment Youth Refuge and Youth and Family Team program areas.
  • July 2014 MOSS has 65 employees
  • March 2015 Crisis Program created bringing together Catchment Youth Refuge, Crisis Response Program, Youth and Family Team and ICMI as an integrated program area.
  • April 2016 Deed of Merge with Banyule Housing Support Group signed.