A key emphasis of our work this past year has been the development of our collaborative and responsive projects. We embraced opportunities to partner with key stakeholders to proactively engage and respond to the legal needs and work towards address increasingly complex legal and social issues impacting upon our community.
Work Development Project Scheme Permit
The impact of unpaid toll fines on vulnerable people in PCLC’s catchment has been significant. To support PCLC fines clinic, and as part of our commitment to holistic practice, PCLC was successful in obtaining funding from the Legal Services Board (LSB) to integrate the Work and Development Permit (WDP) Scheme into Melbourne’s South Eastern region.
The Work and Development Permit (WDP) Scheme allows eligible people (those experiencing addiction, mental illness or cognitive impairment, acute financial hardship, homelessness or family violence) to “work off” their unpaid fines by engaging with health practitioners and organisations to undertake treatment, courses and other eligible activities.
In its first year, the WDP Project has contributed to the significant increase in the number of sponsors in the region, supporting sponsors with the accreditation and/or the integration process. Access to the Scheme has been improved for eligible people, with our widespread promotion and the development of a client service model to ensure people are matched with an appropriate sponsor.
The project, with the support of University of Melbourne Law School and Neota Logic, has developed a WDP Software Application (APP) to support participants learn about WDP’s and other fine options.
PCLC acknowledges the support of our health care professionals who have embraced the Project and supported the collaborative ‘wrap around’ service that is meeting peoples legal and health needs.
Rooming House Outreach
Our Rooming House Outreach Program (RHOP) is funded by the Department of Health & Human Services to assist rooming house residents with advice and support services across seventeen local government areas of Melbourne. Our outreach team has been connecting residents to health, housing and legal services as well as reporting breaches of minimum standards to regulators. In this past year PCLC visited 481 rooming houses providing services to residents, including the delivery of 238 health care packages in response to our concerns for residents during COVID.
PCLC has long identified the lack of affordable and appropriate housing, and the related increase in people being forced to live in inadequate, unsafe marginal housing such as rooming houses. This year PCLC undertook a research report to glean the resident’s view of life in a rooming house. We consolidated this research survey with our learnings, from conducting a rooming house outreach program.
The report, Open the Door: The Resident’s View of Life in a Rooming House highlights areas in the system that requires improvement and regulatory reform. This will be the focus of RHOP work in the coming year.
StreetLaw Coffee Van
The Peninsula Community Legal Centre has partnered with Whitelion and Social Engine in its exciting new Street Law Coffee Van Project.
The Street Law Coffee Van is a mobile legal service bringing the law to the people in local communities that have historically been underserved. Hard-to-reach populations, who might not be able to access PCLC’s offices, can chat with a lawyer over a free cup of barista-made coffee at convenient community based locations. In addition to PCLC’s legal team, the coffee van is staffed by Social Engine’s youth worker and a young person at risk, who will gain training and work experience as a barista.
The Street Law team is dependent on a wide range of our valued partner community organisations who provide the venues for the coffee van to visit.
Willum Warrain Gathering Place
Mornington Peninsula Community SecondBite Program
Southern Peninsula Laundry & Shower Program (SPLaSh)
Crib Point Community House
Westernport Community Support
Dromana Community House
Seawinds Community Hub
Nairm Marr Djambana Gathering Place
Community Support Frankston and Vinnies Kitchen
Our community partners have identified that the Street Law Coffee Van has become a beacon for disconnected people who otherwise did not know of anywhere else to turn for assistance during the shutdown, and has become a vital community recovery asset in an uncertain COVID-19 era.
We are grateful to Gandel Philanthrophy for funding the project.