The predictable result is that the services at some facilities are so bad that it is hard to imagine for people who have never ventured into a supported residential service.
The industry survives because there are so few subsidized housing alternatives available. As an example, Wintringham has over 1,000 impoverished older men and women on our housing and support waiting list.
It is certainly a scandal: a country as rich as ours should be able to provide safe and affordable supported housing for the elderly at the end of their life.
Many clients of existing supported residential services are not able to live independently, but they are often not at a level of fragility requiring fully Commonwealth funded elderly care. They do, however, need care and support.
At the height of the COVID pandemic, the state asked Wintringham to relocate residents from one of the worst residential wards supported whose residents had been infected with COVID.
Upon discharge from the hospital and with the help of workers who we transferred from our own elderly care services, we accommodated the residents in a temporarily vacant backpacker hotel and found appropriate care and accommodation for them. all these old people.
The success of this crisis intervention was not lost on us or the ministry. We have demonstrated with practical results that it is possible to provide an alternative to for-profit supported residential services.
It is time for the Andrews government to build on this experience and launch a new program that helps nonprofit providers care for people living in assisted residential services.
It is important to note that these organizations should be held accountable for any funding they receive. This would be in direct contrast to the current regulations of the supported residential services industry which are totally inadequate.
In response to the COVID pandemic, the state government purchased hotel rooms for the homeless and then funded their relocation to permanent housing. They also started the $ 5 billion Big Housing Build for more social housing in Victoria.
In doing so, they have shown that they are willing to tackle some of the long-term structural inequalities that disadvantaged people face.
Now is the time for the government to turn its attention to the shameful state of the supported residential services industry.
Bryan Lipmann AM is CEO of Wintringham, Australia’s largest homeless elderly care service provider.