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People experiencing homelessness set to receive support through new service in Merri-bek

19 Jan 2024

People experiencing homelessness in Merri-bek will soon be supported by a new service, through a partnership between Merri-bek City Council and Merri Outreach Support Service (MOSS).

The Merri Assertive Community Outreach Program (MACO), will respond to the diverse needs of rough sleepers and those experiencing homelessness. Outreach workers will help improve peoples’ access to support services and housing, with a focus on early intervention activities to support people who are newly homeless to exit homelessness.

The two-year initiative—part of Council’s commitment to strengthening homeless support services in Merri-bek under the 2023/24 budget—will be facilitated by MOSS, commencing in January 2024.

As a leading homelessness support organisaion, MOSS will provide services that respond to the diverse needs of rough sleepers and people experiencing homelessness in Merri-bek with culturally safe processes, escalation pathways and care coordination plans.

MOSS will ensure a client-centric approach that is inclusive of the broader community, including First Nations people, refugee and asylum seekers, women experiencing family violence and people with disability.

The program will aim to address the critical needs of the community by working towards a Merri-bek Functional Zero approach—where collaborative and streamlined service delivery provides the highest level of support services for those who need it most.

The MACO program partnership is part of Council’s commitment to the Affordable Housing Action Plan. The plan, endorsed in 2022, outlines Council’s commitment to working with local service providers to deliver projects that seek to address homelessness in Merri-bek.

Merri-bek City Council Mayor Adam Pulford:

“A home provides a safe base for people to be able to live their lives. Having access to safe, secure and reliable housing is a basic human right. In recognition of this, Council has made a commitment under our Affordable Housing Action Plan to work towards a Functional Zero approach to homelessness in Merri-bek.

“It’s great  the Merri Assertive Community Outreach Program (MACO) will come to life in 2024 to help connect people experiencing homelessness to support services and housing. We’re pleased to be partnering with Merri Outreach Support Service—an organisation experienced in helping those in our community who need it most.”

Merri Outreach Support Services (MOSS) CEO Mark Goodie: “MOSS has consistently demonstrated a commitment to providing comprehensive outreach support tailored to the specific needs of those experiencing homelessness and sleeping rough, and we’re so glad we can bring this experience to the wider Merri-bek community.

“MOSS is committed to working within the Functional Zero Merri-bek framework through the MACO program, collaborating with the North Metropolitan Region (NMR) homelessness and housing service system for streamlined responses and reduced double handling.

“We’re honoured to undertake the Merri Assertive Community Outreach Program with Merri-bek City Council and look forward to collaborating with local service providers, agencies, and the community to create positive and lasting change.”