A day in the life of an Outreach Worker

8.15am
Dropped off a cheque for housing to Sarah, a young mum. Sarah is 24 years old and has a 2 year old daughter Hannah.  I’ve been working with Sarah to find long-term accommodation for her and Hannah for several months and have been able to secure a private rental where part of the rent is subsidised through a private rental program. This is a great outcome as it means that both Sarah and Hannah are no longer sleeping in Sarah’s car.  
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9am
Attend mediation between DHS and Ben, a 24 year old male client, regarding custody of his three children.  The mother of the children currently has custody, however she is using amphetamines and is not a stable influence, so Ben is seeking full custody. I’ve been working with our Transitional Housing Support workers to get Ben into housing and have been supporting him with referrals to services and with the mediation with DHS.  
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10.30am
Accompanied 16 year old male client, Daniel, to court regarding an outstanding fine.  Being only 16, Daniel has no income and wasn’t able to pay the fine, which consequently kept increasing with non-payment penalties.  I’ve been mentoring Daniel for some time and working on getting him assistance from other services and because of that, the judge wiped the fine and all costs.  We can now concentrate on addressing his other more important issues like accommodation, education and employment. 

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12pm
I took Carmen, a 23 year old female client, to Centrelink to organise welfare payments.  Carmen has recently escaped an extremely violent partner and I’ve been working to re-unite her with her family, get into counselling and establish an income so she can start to rebuild her life. 

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1pm
I took another client to Centrelink.  Afra is 16 years old and heavily pregnant.   I’ve been working with her for two months now. Initially the priority was to secure housing as she was homeless. Now that we have worked together to address that issue and she is in stable accommodation, the next step is setting up welfare payments for her so she is able to support her child. 

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2.30pm
Spoke to Taylor, a 15 year old female client, on the phone. Taylor is homeless after leaving home due to issues with her mother who is schizophrenic.  This young girl has become sexually active, particularly with older males, and has been couch surfing between relative strangers.  She is also a heavy user of illicit drugs.  I am working on assisting her across all of her issues, primarily with housing to get her away from the people she is currently associating with. I will then continue working with Taylor for as long as she needs in order to address her issues with drug use, education and employment. 

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3pm
Accompanied a male client, 18 year old Adam, to a local substance abuse service for treatment.  Adam was homeless, but I’ve recently secured him accommodation and we are now focusing on addressing his problematic substance use.

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4.30pm
Visited two clients, 20 and 21 years old, who are currently living on one of the local beaches.  They have been sleeping on the beach for a number of weeks as it is difficult to secure accommodation.  Working with a local housing support worker I am close to being able to secure transitional housing for the couple which will give them a place to stay for 12 weeks, hopefully with the potential to then move into long-term accommodation. 
 
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5.30pm
Finally got in touch with Steve who I have been working with sporadically over the past few months. Steve is 18 and tends to disappear for periods of time where I am unable to contact him.  He has been using amphetamines for some time now and also has mental health issues which are being exacerbated by his drug use.  I have organised for him to see a psychiatrist as well as getting him Medicare and Health Care Cards so that he can receive subsidised treatment.  Steve is still fairly stand-offish however, this is a common trait with our clients as many have had their trust betrayed in the past. As we spend more time together he seems to be more comfortable accepting my assistance. 

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9.30pm
Received a call from the local police about a 19 year old female who had been bought into the station as the police were concerned about her safety. She is homeless and had not eaten in more than a day as well as exhibiting symptoms of mental health issues.  I went to the station to speak to both her and the police and I have taken her on as an intensive client.  I will start the process of securing relevant service assistance for her immediately.

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Open Family Australia
155 Roden Street
West Melbourne VIC 3003
T. 1300 669 600
E. ofaonline@openfamily.com.au

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