We’re making legal and non-legal services work together to help end homelessness.
We know that nearly everyone who is homeless have problems that need legal help to solve. And we know that they need more than just a lawyer – they need support across different areas of their lives. With Under One Roof, we’re working with Launch Housing to put a lawyer at the frontline, getting legal help to people who would otherwise remain locked out of the legal system.
By breaking down silos between the legal and non-legal community and working together, we can provide someone with the all-of-life support they need to truly break cycles of homelessness, or avoid it altogether. We’ve brought together lawyers, social workers, housing and healthcare support – all under the one roof.
What is Under One Roof?
Under One Roof began in 2015, when Justice Connect placed a lawyer at Launch’s St Kilda clinic to deepen our connections with the housing, health and social support workers on site.
Since then, we’ve worked with case workers, social workers and health workers at Launch, in the office and on outreach, using legal and non-legal practices to secure long-term, durable outcomes for clients.
By helping those facing eviction, and by advocating for law reform, we hope to stop homelessness before it starts. By dealing with the fines, charges, debts and other burdens that affect people without a home, we give them a chance to regain their footing.
Under One Roof has been recognised by the Law Council of Australia’s 2018 Justice Report and the Victorian Government’s 2016 Access to Justice Review as a best-practice model for people who are homeless or on the brink of homelessness.
How the project works
Justice Connect helps people who are experiencing or at risk of homelessness every day. For complex clients who may slip through the cracks of existing legal services, we can reach out to them through the services they’re already using, like Launch Housing. It’s one way we’re better able to provide holistic, integrated support.
In three years of Under One Roof, we received 210 enquiries and delivered face-to-face advice, tailored legal information and ongoing legal representation to homeless or at risk Victorians. We’re also trained frontline workers on how to recognise legal problems and how best to help.
We have also learnt through our relationships with frontline homelessness agencies and caseworkers how we can better open up the legal system to people in times of great vulnerability. We have worked closely with the rough sleeping outreach workers at Launch, speaking with hard to reach clients and taking the first steps to address their problems. We’re not just providing someone with legal help, we’re helping them overcome barriers that are stopping them building a better life.
Connie keeps a roof over her head
A neighbour had been regularly abusing Connie on the basis of her Aboriginality