The RDNS Homeless Persons’ Program (HPP) – a dedicated service where specialist community nurses provide health care and support to people experiencing, or at risk of, homelessness throughout Melbourne – is commencing a three-year trial of the service for the Frankston region.

The Frankston service will be modelled on the well-established RDNS HPP service response where RDNS HPP nurses take their expert care and support daily to precisely where it is needed – the streets, squats and rooming houses of Melbourne. This now includes Frankston.

The nurses provide a range of services including first aid, clinical care, counselling, health education and promotion, and active support to homeless people.

The manager of the RDNS Homeless Persons’ Program, Theresa Swanborough, OAM, said community demographics had shifted and the number of people in outlying suburbs experiencing homelessness has grown dramatically in recent years, with the municipality of Frankston being of particular concern.

“RDNS HPP does not see itself as a stand-alone response and is committed to working in collaboration with existing services in Frankston – collectively I believe we can make a difference to the lives of people, who often find themselves on the fringe.

“We felt it was vitally important to bring our model of service to Frankston,” Ms Swanborough said.

“Without significant the support of Gandel Philanthropy, which has provided funding to enable the employment of a community health nurse for three years, as well as funding to undertake detailed evaluation, RDNS HPP would not have had the resources to respond to the very real needs of marginalised people in Frankston. We are also grateful to John T Reid Charitable Trusts which has provided funding for a car, enabling the service to be mobile so nurses can reach out to homeless and at-risk people exactly where they live and gather. ”

The new RDNS HPP office is located at the not-for-profit charity, City Life, which has been proving assistance for people in need for more than 25 years.

Vedran Drakulic, CEO of Gandel Philanthropy said: “The RDNS research showed that there was prevalence of people ‘sleeping rough’ and intergenerational homelessness in Franskton, which was further exacerbated by acute lack of affordable accommodation. This project appealed to the Board of Gandel Philanthropy exactly because it was evidence-based, and also because it was proposing to deliver a well-established and validated model of care, tailored to the specific needs of people at risk in Frankston.”

The establishment of the new service is being marked by a special event at City Life, 14 Clyde Street, Frankston at 11.30am on Friday 28 March 2014.

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