Together Home: High Needs Funding

High Needs funding assists individuals being supported through the Together Home program to access additional supports to meet their needs.

This funding aims to provide additional resources to support people with complex, co-occurring needs who require intensive support to achieve their goals and sustain their tenancy.

The aim of High Needs funding is to promote personal recovery and social inclusion. This funding is intended to support the provision of person-centred, holistic and culturally safe services. This may include:

  • life skills support
  • advancing connection to community, family or country
  • accessing specialist assessments to support transition to mainstream service provision (such as the NDIS or HASI)
  • provision of specialist clinical support
  • any additional practical help that is needed to maintain a tenancy.

In late 2020, High Needs Packages (HNP) were introduced to provide $78,000 of flexible funding to support Together Home individuals with complex service needs over two years. These allocations for full HNPs were exhausted over the following year. Given many people closed their packages without utilising the full $78,000, these unspent funds were pooled and reallocated into one-off funding grants (OOFG). This means individuals in Together Home can now access funds for additional and essential supports as a one-off, without a full High Needs Package.

How do I make a referral?

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A referral for High Needs funding may be appropriate where the current support package is not meeting the needs of an individual and additional support is required.

It is essential that all individuals referred to the panel have provided informed consent and that a VI-SPDAT has been completed. Referrals will be accepted from Community Housing Providers and/or the subcontracted support agencies responsible for delivering the Together Home program.

The referral process is designed to capture all the key information that is required by the panel to assist decision making and should include:

  • For new referrals: High Needs Referral Form.
  • For requests to review, reallocate or close funding: High Needs Review Form.
  • Any other supporting documentation, where relevant.

All forms and templates are below in our ‘Resources’ section.

How is High Needs funding assessed and granted?

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The High Needs panel includes representatives from The Department of Communities and Justice (DCJ), NSW Health, National Disability Insurance Agency (NDIA), Aboriginal representatives and individuals with lived expertise. The role of panel members is the prioritisation and allocation of funding. Homelessness NSW is responsible for facilitating HN panel considerations and communicating with the referring agency and relevant supports.

Identified groups are prioritised, including people who identify as Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander, people 55 years and over (or 45 years and over if a person identifies as Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander), individuals 24 years and under, female-identifying persons, people who identify as LQBTQIA+ and individuals from culturally and linguistically diverse (CALD) backgrounds.

Where an individual has a VI-SPDAT score of 15 or higher, this indicates the existence of multiple and complex factors that suggest an individual may benefit from High Needs funding. Please note, the VI-SPDAT score is not the sole deciding factor for the eligibility or suitability of high needs funding, and funding decisions will be based on all information contained in the referral.

Individuals who identify as Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander will be prioritised for high needs funding. Homelessness NSW and the High Needs panel aim to ensure that at least a third of the overall total of packages and one-off funding grants are allocated to Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander people.

What happens after I make a referral?

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Homelessness NSW will contact you within 5 working days of the panel meeting.

If High Needs funding is not approved:

  • You will be provided with the reasoning for the panel’s decision and will be provided with a recommendation about how the individual’s needs may be met through other services.
  • Please note that this does not prevent you making a further referral for the same individual if their needs change and additional resources are required.

If High Needs funding is approved:

  • You will be provided with details of the services that have been approved.
  • As part of the panel’s decision, the Community Housing Provider (CHP) will be asked to send a timely invoice to Homelessness NSW to release the approved funds.

All High Needs funding is managed via existing contract management arrangements in place between the Community Housing Provider and DCJ. Please note that, in instances where an individual receives a Medicare rebate from High Needs funded support services, it is strongly suggested these supports work with the individual to positively use these funds (e.g., to sustain their tenancy and/or address their physical and mental health needs).

Key dates

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The panel meets on the first Thursday and Friday of each month to review new referrals, reallocations of previously approved funding, and requests for additional funding in full HNPs and OOFGs.

Homelessness NSW facilitates a Community of Practice (CoP) for support partners within Together Home. For more information or to join the Together Home CoP, please email our team via highneedspackage@homelessnessnsw.org.au

High Needs Funding Resources

About the Together Home Program

The Together Home program uses Housing First principles to provide stability for people with a history of complex homelessness and sleeping rough, with the aim of building individual capacity and capabilities.

Key objectives of the program include:

  • Rapidly rehousing people sleeping rough during the COVID-19 pandemic and facilitate pathways into longer term housing;
  • Providing access to culturally appropriate health, mental health and wellbeing services;
  • Building connections including with family, community and culture;
  • Supporting daily living and self-management skills; and
  • Providing structured activities including social groups, education or employment.

Housing First is an international and evidence-based framework to end homelessness. To learn more about the Housing First principles, please see Homelessness Australia’s resources. An evaluation of Together Home by AHURI was incorporated into the program design and delivery, and the final report is due in 2024.

Although people who are currently in Together Home continue to be able to access High Needs funding, the funding for new support packages within Together Home program is currently exhausted. Additional funding for new people to be referred into Together Home may become available in the future. For current information regarding program funding and delivery, please review the DCJ Together Home website or contact togetherhome@dcj.nsw.gov.au as DCJ are the program administrators. You can also contact Homelessness NSW via highneedspackage@homelessnessnsw.org.au if you have further questions.



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