A SUPPORT program for families at risk of homelessness will be officially launched in Bendigo today with a tour of six new properties by Member for Bendigo West, Maree Edwards.

Haven; Home, Safe’s Housing Direct $2.7 million program was funded by the Department of Health and Human Services, and combines two years of intensive case management support with affordable rental housing to enable clients to sustain their housing and create connections to their local community.

HHS Chair Sue Clarke said the Housing Direct program would “set people up for success” in the future.

“People receiving case management support through the Housing Direct program will see an improvement in their financial stability, as well as their ability to focus on their health and connectedness to community, family and friends,” she said.

HHS first launched Housing Direct in Geelong last October with five properties in partnership with support agency Bethany and will extend the program to Echuca later this year following the construction of two new units.

Chief operations officer Trudi Ray said clients will be referred to the Bendigo program by partner agencies Anglicare, Bendigo District Aboriginal Co-operative and the Centre for Non-Violence.

“Our case management provides both practical and holistic support to vulnerable people to stay housed long-term, we know that wrap around service support enhances the chances for people to sustain housing and create greater connections within the communities they live,” she said.

A unique feature of the Housing Direct program is six-monthly progress evaluations to capture people’s journey to success and self-sustainability.