It’s time for services to adapt to the person

August 3, 2018

The following article appeared in the June 2018 edition of the NADA Advocate. Click here to read the full publication.

It’s time for services to adapt to the person

Grace Ivy Rullis, manager of homelessness services at The Haymarket Foundation, spoke with authority during the access and equity panel. She shares the approach of The Haymarket Foundation.

The Haymarket Foundation is a Sydney based, secular organisation that has worked with Sydney’s homeless and vulnerable for more than 42 years. The Foundation supports people with complex needs across a range of services; from crisis residential accommodation, to early intervention and rapid rehousing, and AOD counselling.

Across our service spectrum, a commonality exists in our clients which transcends age, gender, and cultural background. This commonality is a lifelong cycle of unaddressed trauma, addiction, homelessness, mental health, and rejection by broader society.

By understanding this commonality and the impacts of complex trauma, Haymarket is able to support people who are not easily categorised into a service criteria. Our aim is harm reduction and stabilisation, without exclusion. The Foundation’s ideology is working with the client ’where they are at’ in a nonlinear support framework. Our ideology places clients at the centre of our work, creating flexible, low threshold approaches to ensure vulnerable populations can access our services as easily as possible.

Simply, we constantly try to find ways to say yes to people who are constantly being told no.

This search to say yes is made possible through the passion and skill of our case workers, who are supported by a strong, trauma informed risk management framework. This framework allows us to keep people with active AOD issues in our services, even if they have multiple triggers and risk factors.

What really works is an emphasis on the therapeutic relationship with the client, understanding their triggers. Importantly we do not unpack the trauma, we are trauma informed not trauma specialists.

When a person has experienced systematic rejection and program exits from services, we acknowledge this trauma and ask them how we can adapt to their current support needs without the threat of exclusion.

This translates to a person knowing they will supported without judgment.

How many chances does a person get? Simple. As many as they need. 

The essence of actively tackling hidden barriers of access and equity are ensuring your service uses a human-centred approach adapting to the clients, not the other way around.