How to prevent homelessness and get the help you need

If you are worried about homelessness, it’s important to know that there are services available that can support you to get the help you need to prevent you from becoming homeless or to access safe housing.

Are you considered homeless?

It’s useful to know the official definition of homelessness, so you can better identify what homelessness support services might be available to you.

You are considered to be homeless if you don’t have a place to live, or if your housing options don’t offer you long-term stability, safety, or control over how and who you interact with.

This means that you can still be considered homeless even if you have a place to stay. For example you could be considered homeless if you are staying with a friend on the couch and don’t know how long you can stay. Other examples are:

  • If you are living without a house in a structure you’ve made for yourself e.g. tents (also known as rough sleepers)
  • If you are living in accommodation for the homeless
  • If you are living in other people’s homes
  • If you are living in boarding houses
  • If you are living in really crowded accommodation
  • If you are living in other temporary accommodation.

What causes homelessness?

There are many reasons why you might become homeless or be worried about becoming homeless. Some personal reasons include:

  • If you have had financial difficulties that mean you are unable to access affordable housing or have a poor rental history
  • If you have poor health (including mental health issues) and disability 
  • If you have or have had drug or alcohol issues
  • If you had challenges that prevented you from finishing high school or obtaining a post school qualification
  • If you have experienced trauma
  • If you are unemployed or do not have job security.

It is also worth remembering there are structural reasons you might become homeless. This means that the circumstances of the society we live in can make it more likely for some people to become homeless, such as the housing market and high rent.

Where can I get help if I am worried about becoming homeless?

Windermere offers a transitional support program if you are homeless or facing the prospect of homelessness in the Casey or Cardinia council areas and have dependent children. We will work with you to provide emotional and practical support so you can address your challenges and stay in your home or access safe, appropriate housing. It's much better to contact us before your challenges escalate so we can work with you to support you to stay in safe housing or prevent your situation from worsening.

To access our transitional support program you need to get a referral through a Homelessness Access Point like WAYSS - a service that provides support if you are experiencing family violence or homelessness in the area of Melbourne’s south east.

You can find more information, including how you can access, our transitional support program here. 

How can I escape homelessness if I am worried about family violence?

Windermere can also support you if you are worried about homelessness due to family violence and living in the Casey and Cardinia areas. For more information, see here.

Crisis and out of hours support services

If you are in immediate danger or an emergency situation call 000.

Safe Steps Family Violence Support Response Service, Call 1800 015 188.

The Orange Door – a free service for those experiencing family violence. Find more information here, including how to access services in a location near you.

Lifeline 131114

Launch Housing (Housing and homelessness services). Call 1800 825 955. 

WAYSS (family violence/housing). Call 9792 1205 after hours until 11pm—women’s service.

You can see more out of hours support services here

More information

Windermere offers a range of support services if you are homeless or worried about becoming homeless. This includes support if you are facing homelessness due to family violence.

To find out more visit here or call the team on 1300 946 337. 

You can find out more on receiving a referral for our services here.