Homeless legal health training videos

Two innovative homeless legal health training videos were launched by the Attorney General’s office during November.

The videos are designed to help homeless people, through assisting community workers to recognise legal needs of disadvantaged clients and effectively refer them to free legal services as necessary.

The videos produced by the QPILCH Homeless Persons’ Legal Clinic (HPLC), with funding from Legal Aid Queensland, feature actors who were at the time either homeless residents or support staff at Roma House – a crisis accommodation and support service operated by Mission Australia at Spring Hill.

HPLC coordinates private volunteer lawyers to attend 14 homeless community services in the state to provide free legal services and works closely with the workers at such services to ensure its clients know what legal help is available. 
Eighty per cent of people experiencing homelessness have unresolved legal issues which can hamper their housing prospects, but they will typically not seek a lawyer’s help.

Up to 105,000 people are homeless on any given night in Australia.

Queensland’s largest homeless population is in Brisbane – with 1943 in the inner-city and 4324 across the entire metropolitan area. 

Other centres of homelessness include the Gold Coast, with 1426, Cairns with 2303, Townsville with 1591 and 2130 across western parts of the state.

There were 38,930 applicants waiting for public housing in Queensland at December 2012, and the rental market had a critically low vacancy rate of 3.1 per cent at the same period.

Homelessness can come about because of many factors such as relationship and home breakdowns, job losses, mental health issues and debt.

The taxing experience homelessness can be impacts on individuals for years and can impede their health, financial and social well-being across the long-term – even after they may have regained housing.

QPILCH collaborates year-round with other community agencies to help vulnerable and socially excluded people get through the crisis of homelessness, stabilise their housing and fulfil their potential. 

It is recognised that people need a range of services to address factors that led to or keep them homeless, with legal issues being significantly important.

The Legal Health Check is a diagnostic tool that was developed by the HPLC as a structured interview tool for pro bono lawyers who provide legal service to disadvantaged clients;

Resource for community workers to identify and prioritise the legal needs of their clients and a menu for clients to maximize their choice by understanding which issues the lawyer can assist with.View the Legal Health Check training videos at: www.qpilch.org.au/lhc

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