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Case Manager Tenancy Plus

Wombat Housing & Support Services

The Context

Wombat Housing and Support Services is one of the largest providers of housing and support services to people in the Western Metro Region. It is a community based organisation managed by a Board.

The culture of Wombat is about:

  • Integrating new programs and ideas
  • Providing services that are accessible, transparent, fair & equitable
  • Being sensitive to the needs of diverse cultural & language groups
  • Recognising the right of all age groups to access appropriate services, including children, young people and older people
  • Cross program service delivery
  • Embracing and generating change that is positive
  • Accountability, inquiry and reflection
  • Hearing and accounting for different views
  • A workforce representing diversity in experience, age and ability
  • Valuing staff and encouraging wellbeing
  • Providing a flexible and supportive work environment.

Wombat’s existing services include:

  • Support & Advocacy for social housing tenants
  • Support programs for Department of Human Services youth clients
  • Transitional support services for Families, Single People and Youth
  • Support program for young people on parole & Leaving Care

Wombat is also the auspice for the Western Homelessness Networker.

About Tenancy Plus

Tenancy Plus is an advocacy and support program for social housing tenants. The aim of the program is to prevent homelessness and improve outcomes for tenants through sustaining and supporting tenancies. 

Wombat delivers Tenancy Plus in the Inner Western catchment of the West Metropolitan Region.

The Tenancy Plus team supports new social housing tenants to establish successful tenancies, and provides support to existing tenancies that are at risk. 

The Position 

Role 

The position provides case managed advocacy and support to social housing tenants, particularly where there is a risk of failed tenancy.

Scope 

Tenancy Plus play a critical role in the development and delivery of effective support services to social housing tenants in the inner west.  Tenancy Plus Case Managers deliver services on an outreach basis from a single site in Melrose Street North Melbourne. Tenancy Plus Support Workers deliver direct service within a case management model.

Reporting and Accountability

The Tenancy Plus Case Manager is accountable to the Wombat’s Executive Officer. The Team Leader oversees general program operations and provides day to day guidance to case managers.

Support and Supervision

Tenancy Plus Case Managers participate in regular program meetings and individual supervision with the Team Leader.

Bi-monthly external supervision is provided to the team, informal support and supervision is encouraged and forms a major part of the support and supervision structure.     

Duties 

Commensurate with SCHADS Level 5 workers are expected to adhere to established work practices however they will on occasion be required to exercise initiative and judgement and to be involved in service planning and co-ordination.

The role will involve performing the following duties in accordance with the philosophy, policies, work practices and protocols of Wombat Housing and Support Services:

  • To deliver advocacy and support services to people eligible for services through Tenancy Plus
  • To provide housing and related information
  • To assess the needs of tenants and potential tenants referred to the Tenancy Plus Program by Housing, Community Housing providers and other sources
  • To develop and monitor individual case plans in conjunction with the service user, the support team, the Tenancy Plus team leader and Program Manager.  
  • To provide general support to tenants to maximise the likelihood of a sustainable tenancy
  • To provide one on one intensive support to service users identified as being at risk
  • To enable tenants to receive appropriate support from other agencies as required
  • To respond appropriately to tenants’ needs for counselling, crisis intervention and conflict resolution
  • To advocate to social housing landlords or VCAT on behalf of service users with respect to tenancy, maintenance, neighbourhood or other disputes and appeals
  • To participate in team and individual case management support meetings, Tenancy Plus meetings and Wombat staff meetings
  • To participate in Wombat working groups
  • To contribute to the maintenance of information, data and recording systems
  • To network with other agencies to further the interests of Tenancy Plus service users
  • To prepare written reports as required
  • To contribute to the development of Wombat policies, programs and procedures
  • To represent the interests of Wombat and Tenancy Plus in the west in consultation with the Team leader and Program Manager
  • Other duties as directed by the EO. 

The Conditions 

  • The position is .8eft (32 hours per week).
  • The position is currently available for a 12-month contract.
  • Days worked will be negotiated with the Program Manager.
  • Pay rate is set at SCHADS 5.

Conditions are as per the Wombat EBA 2016, including:

  • Salary sacrificing is available, within the limit of the law.
  • Five weeks paid annual recreation leave.
  • Grace & Favour days between Christmas and New Year.

A Probationary Period of 3 months will apply 

Appointment is subject to a satisfactory Police Check and Working with Children Check. In the event that a candidate has resided overseas for more than one year in the preceding 10 years an International Police check will be required.

Key Selection Criteria  

  • Substantial experience working with people in crisis, including people with challenging behaviours
  • Experience in a relevant position in the Community Sector
  • Working knowledge of the housing & support system and the causal factors of homelessness
  • Demonstrated skill in case management tasks, assessment and the development of case plans
  • Experience in individual case advocacy requiring excellent verbal communication and writing skills
  • Ability and commitment to communicate and engage with people from diverse backgrounds including cultural, language, age and other experiences.
  • Ability to work as part of a team and to be accountable as an individual worker
  • Basic competencies appropriate to the conduct of the position such as computer literacy, driver’s licence and data collection
  • Knowledge or experience of the Residential Tenancies Act, VCAT Act and/or Office of Housing/ Community Housing Policies (desirable).

Wombat Code of Conduct 

All workers are expected to perform their duties in a manner consistent with Wombat’s Codes of Conduct (See Operating Manual 4.1):

Wombat is committed to being a professional, respectful and supportive organisation that complies with all relevant legislation. To achieve this, everyone associated with Wombat is expected to respect the dignity, rights and views of others regardless of whether they are on the board, members of staff, students or volunteers.

To achieve the stated principle, it is expected everyone associated with Wombat will act in a manner that includes:

  1. Listening to and seeking to understand different points of view (this does not necessarily mean agreeing with the point of view of others)
  2. Respecting diversity in all its forms. This includes respect of culture, gender, sexuality, experience, identity and opinion
  3. Respecting cultural, ethnic and religious differences
  4. Recognising that others are bound by obligations in their public duties
  5. Being courteous, sensitive and honest in communications and being considerate to the needs of others
  6. Actively managing workplace conflict to create positive and constructive outcomes
  7. Working cooperatively and collaboratively with others to achieve common goals and a harmonious organisational environment and culture
  8. Supporting the personal and professional development of others
  9. Acknowledging the rights and responsibilities of others to report suspected misconduct.

Specifically relating to service users, Wombat has an expectation that its staff will conduct themselves in a professional manner, with due regard to the values and purposes of the organisation and with full cognisance of their duty of care for service users. The following code of conduct outlines Wombat’s expectations of staff and will be provided to services users on a regular basis:

  1. Wombat staff will maintain a professional relationship with service users, and will not allow the provision of support to develop or change into friendship.
  2. Workers will not, under any circumstances, disclose their home address or telephone number to service users or engage in social networking with service users via the internet.
  3. Workers will not divulge any personal information to a client. This includes information about their family, living arrangements, religious and political beliefs and life experiences. Exceptions may be made when a worker believes some limited disclosure is professionally appropriate and discusses this with their manager.
  4. Workers will not enter into non-work personal relationships, sexual relationships or financial dealing with service users
  5. Workers will not have contact with service users out of hours.
  6. Workers will avoid creating relationships of dependence
  7. Workers will not accept gifts from service-users.  If for some reason (e.g. cultural sensitivity) it is not appropriate or possible to refuse a gift, staff should consult with their manager
  8. Wombat staff will not impose or seek to impose their personal values or beliefs on service users.

Code of Conduct When Working with Children 

As stated in the Wombat Board Governance Framework:

Wombat is committed to child safety and all children who receive a service from Wombat have a right to be safe and secure.

This includes:

  • Children have the right to receive a service from Wombat
  • Children have the right to be treated with dignity and respect
  • Children should receive a service that is non-judgemental, culturally sensitive and developmentally appropriate
  • The welfare of children will always be an organisational priority and there will be a zero tolerance to child abuse.

The following acceptable and unacceptable behaviours outline Wombat’s expectations in relation to children.

Acceptable behaviours:

  • adhering to Wombat’s Working with Children Policy (SDPM Policy 9.1 – 9.6); and upholding Wombat’s statement of commitment to child safety (see above) at all times.
  • reporting and acting on any breaches of this Code of Conduct or breaches of the Child Safe Standards.
  • taking all reasonable steps to protect children from abuse (this includes any physical, emotional, mental or sexual harm) and reporting any child safety concerns and any allegations of child abuse to management.
  • working with children in an open and transparent way (for example a child’s primary carer and the case management team should always know about the work you are doing with children)
  • respecting the privacy of children and their families, and only disclosing information to people who have a need to know. (Except where there is a Duty of Care issue)
  • listening and responding appropriately to the views and concerns of children, particularly if they are telling you that they or another child has been abused or that they are worried about their safety/the safety of another child.
  • encouraging the cultural safety, participation and empowerment of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children.
  • encouraging the cultural safety, participation and empowerment of children with culturally and/or linguistically diverse backgrounds.
  • ensuring as far as practicable that staff are not alone with a child (except for staff in programs for under 18yo)
  • modelling appropriate adult behaviour. 

Unacceptable behaviours:

  • Ignoring or disregarding any suspected or disclosed child abuse
  • developing any ‘special’ relationships with children that could be seen as favouritism, e.g. through the provision of gifts or inappropriate attention.
  • initiating or participating in any unnecessary physical contact with children or doing things of a personal nature that a child can do for themselves.
  • engaging in open discussions of a mature or adult nature in the presence of children, (as practicable).
  • using inappropriate language in the presence of children.
  • using oppressive behaviour or prejudicial language with children.
  • exchanging personal contact details such as phone number, social networking site or email addresses with children/ having online contact with a child.
  • transporting a child without a parent or guardian present.
  • having unauthorised contact with children and young people online or by phone.
  • photographing or videoing a child without the consent of the parent/guardian.
  • discriminating against any child on the basis of age, gender, race, culture, vulnerability, sexuality, ethnicity, or disability.

Additional Considerations

In addition to the above, no-one employed, engaged with or representing Wombat shall use or attempt to use the resources of the organisation for personal gain or for the personal gain of those who are ineligible to receive services.

Where necessary and with the approval of a manager, supervision and debriefing will be made available to staff who wish to discuss questions of their relationship with service users.

Where a Wombat staff member feels they cannot provide a service user with appropriate services due to a conflict of interest, philosophies, cultural beliefs or other norms, s/he will discuss the situation with the relevant manager or EO at the earliest opportunity, notwithstanding ordinary opportunities for debriefing and supervision.

A child is defined as anyone up to the age of 18 years.

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