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We have compiled this living resource to provide the latest information on COVID-19 (novel coronavirus) relevant to the health and community services sector and help the sector maintain service continuity. The recent lockdown measures implemented on social housing estates in Melbourne and worsening conditions in NSW are a stark reminder of the heightened vulnerability of people living in disadvantaged circumstances, and the ongoing need for contingency planning to ensure people aren’t further disadvantaged.

We have assurances that your usual funding arrangements should not be impacted, if there is a need to temporarily suspend or change some elements of your service. If your service is significantly impacted by COVID-19 and you have difficulty meeting your contract requirements, speak to your contract manager about the developing situation and any contingency plans that may need to be put in place.

Community Sector Updates from NCOSS and NSW Department of Communities and Justice

NCOSS CEO Joanna Quilty regularly joins DCJ Deputy Secretary Simone Walker to answer your questions with clear, accurate information about how COVID-19 is impacting the community services sector.

The latest video discusses COVID-19 and some other topics, including:

  • Continued support for service providers during the pandemic
  • The recent Auditor General’s report on Their Futures Matter
  • Future funding allocations
To keep these videos short, DCJ Deputy Secretary Simone Walker has provided additional information rather than in the video. Please keep reading below to find out how the new Together Home program is helping to put rough sleepers into stable housing and learn about changes to this year’s annual accountability process.
Together Home
The Together Home program launched on 1 July to support people who were street sleeping and who were assisted into Temporary Accommodation due to COVID-19. Together Home providers support these people directly into longer-term, stable housing and provide wrap-around person centred supports. There are 19 community housing providers delivering the program across NSW – as part of the Community Housing Leasing program. They head lease properties in the private rental market to house people street sleeping.
The program has been rolled out extremely quickly with strong collaboration between DCJ, community housing providers and homelessness services and is now fully operational. Providers have been working with DCJ to establish referral pathways, finalise local delivery models and engage support providers to deliver the support component. DCJ is working with Homelessness NSW to establish a Higher Support Needs Assessment Panel that will assess and make further funding allocations to providers in order to procure additional, specialist supports needed for participants with high support needs.
Referrals have started coming in and we are seeing a number of people being assessed and starting to receive wrap around support. There are also some participants who have already been housed. The Together Home program is a key contributing initiative to support the Premier’s Priority to halve street sleeping by 2025 – so it’s great to see it getting off the ground.
Annual accountability
Over 400 participants attended DCJ’s annual accountability webinar recently. It was an opportunity to run through changes to this year’s process and to answer your questions. I would like to draw your attention to a few important changes this year:
  • Due to COVID-19 we’ve extended your time to submit by 7 weeks. You have until 18 December 2020 but there can be no further requests for extensions. If you can, please try and get your assessments in as early as possible.
  • We are establishing a Specialist Assessment Team to focus on financials. We’re doing this because we are in such unknown territory with COVID and we want to be sure that our contract managers are freed up to assist you if needed.
  • We are aiming to have the whole process finished by 31 March next year and are hoping to have similar results to this year, where 98.11 per cent of assessments were rated low, medium or no risk.
  • For those of you who received special COVID-19 payments there are special instructions on how to report these payments and how to report any Commonwealth funding you received.
  • We are also asking you whether you identify as an Aboriginal organisation, and the percentage of your staff and clients that identify as Aboriginal – so we can see the change to the Aboriginal organisations we fund and the targets we set for Aboriginal service delivery over time.

You can find the previous video updates on Community Sector COVID-19 Video Updates from DCJ and NCOSS.

If you have a specific question that you would like to be addressed, send to or and we will endeavour to get to it in our video updates.


Important information for the sector

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