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April 2015

Opening doors for people with mental illness

Minister for Mental Health Martin Foley has announced a $3.57 million boost to support people with a mental illness find and keep a rental property.

The Doorway program is delivered by the Mental Illness Fellowship Victoria in partnership with the Victorian Government, clinical mental health services and the Real Estate Institute of Victoria (REIV).

The program has secured housing for 59 adults with a severe mental illness in the private rental market and supports them to hold on to their homes.

The State Government will provide $3.57 million over four years so the Mental Illness Fellowship Victoria can expand the program and find more homes for people living with a severe mental illness who are homeless or at risk of homelessness.

Doorway gives a person with a mental illness the support needed to manage a tenancy, while real estate agents gain the confidence to provide private rental housing to people with a mental illness.

The funding boost will enable the program to support another 50 people a year.

The Doorway program already operates in the local government areas of Baw Baw, Latrobe, Boroondara and Yarra.

It will now be extended to Frankston, Mornington Peninsula Shire, Stonnington, Port Philip, Bayside, Kingston and Glen Eira.

An evaluation of the innovative program found significantly-improved health and housing outcomes with most people achieving stable and secure private rental accommodation.

Doorway participants have also become more actively engaged in their own health and wellbeing.

Many progressed to the point of being able to be discharged as clients by their clinical mental health service.

‘For people with a mental illness who are embarking on a journey to recovery, secure housing is critical,’ said Mr Foley.

‘The Doorway program has shown that, given the opportunity to enter the rental market and the support to live independently, people with a mental illness can rebuild their lives, close to loved ones and in their community.’