Under One Roof

We’re bringing legal and non-legal services together to help people avoid or exit homelessness.

What is Under One Roof?

We know that nearly everyone experiencing homelessness has problems that need legal help to solve. And we know that they need more than just a lawyer – they need coordinated support across different areas of their lives.

With Under One Roof, we’re working with frontline agencies, Launch Housing, Sacred Heart Mission and cohealth to give direct access to a lawyer, 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 provide people with the holistic support they need to truly break the cycle of homelessness, or avoid it altogether.

We’ve brought together lawyers, social workers, housing and healthcare support – all under the one roof.

Under One Roof’s history

Under One Roof began in 2015, when Justice Connect co-located a lawyer at Launch Housing in St Kilda to deepen our connections with the housing, health and homelessness workers on site.

Since then, we’ve worked with social and health workers at Launch Housing, in the office, on outreach and remotely during COVID-19, using legal and non-legal practices to secure long-term outcomes for clients.

We’ve expanded our partnerships through Under One Roof to include Launch Housing, Sacred Heart Mission’s Journey to Social Inclusion & Greenlight programs, and cohealth Central City.

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.

In 2023, Justice Connect launched the Workers’ Resource Hub. The hub complements our integrated, holistic legal services delivered through our Under One Roof program. Designed and developed with workers at our partner organisations, this bespoke set of resources empowers Victoria’s frontline workers to identify and support their clients with legal needs related to housing, fines, family violence and minor criminal charges.

How we’re making a difference

Over the last 12 months, Justice Connect has seen the ongoing impact of COVID-19 on people experiencing or at risk of homelessness across Victoria. Despite moving to a ‘COVID normal’ or ‘recovery phase’, rising pressures related to the housing and cost of living crises have created a new cohort of ‘future homeless’ and financially insecure, while also pushing vulnerable people housed during COVID-19 back into homelessness.

Thanks to the strength of Justice Connect’s embedded community partnerships and colocations through our Under One Roof project, we have been able to responsively adapt and grow our services in the last 12 months. Through this collaborative model, we have delivered a combination of intensive legal and social work assistance to Victorians with complex needs who would have otherwise fallen through the cracks.

Demand for legal support through our Under One Roof project has continued to rise, with 290 new legal enquiries this year (June 2022 – May 2023), a 97% increase since COVID-19 started. Since the project commenced in 2015, we have seen an incredible 368% increase in legal enquiries. Access to Justice Connect’s integrated criminal law help has also increased, with our senior criminal lawyer providing high-intensity assistance through 138 new client files. Justice Connect’s Homeless Persons’ Liaison Officer also provided tailored, integrated social work support to 117 people with 448 non-legal issues (up by 50% from the previous year), which were holistically addressed alongside their legal needs. To meet the increase in demand, we adapted and expanded our service model to become hybrid, with both in-person and digital engagement, improving accessibility and flexibly meeting client needs.

The increase in demand reflects the long-term strength of our embedded partnerships with Launch Housing, Sacred Heart Mission – Journey to Social Inclusion and Greenlight, and cohealth, which enabled us to provide homeless or at-risk Victorians with seamless, remote access to legal services, including during COVID-19 and through the recovery phase.

Read our latest report

See how we rapidly responded to the increased legal needs of Victorians experiencing homelessness.

Under One Roof 12 month snapshot (May 2023)Download PDF (10 MB)

Connie’s story

Connie keeps a roof over her head

A neighbour had been regularly abusing Connie on the basis of her Aboriginality

Read Connie's story

Past reports

Under One Roof 12 month snapshot (May 2022)Download PDF (10 MB)
Under One Roof 12 month snapshot (May 2021)Download PDF (13 MB)
Under One Roof 12 month snapshot (May 2020)Download PDF (6 MB)
Under One Roof – three year snapshotDownload PDF (3 MB)
Under One Roof graphic summary 2018Download PDF (114 KB)
Under One Roof 3 Year Report (Nov 2018)Download PDF (2 MB)
Under One Roof 2016-2017 SummaryDownload PDF (819 KB)
Under One Roof – 12 month report (May 2016)Download PDF (1 MB)
The City Clinics – Next Generation Outreach (July 2014)Download PDF (941 KB)