NSW govt plans a new program to help mentally ill people

23 October, 2007

The NSW Government is expanding an innovative program that is giving hope to people with a mental illness.

Minister Assisting the Minister for Health (Mental Health) Paul Lynch said the Housing and Accommodation Support Initiative (HASI) program had been lauded by independent reports.

Lynch said the program received another positive evaluation during Mental Health Week with Mission Australia declaring it a success.

The HASI program provides safe and affordable housing for people with a mental illness and allows them to receive care at home.

"The $29 million program - part of the Iemma Government's more than $1 billion commitment to mental health - will accommodate 1000 places by the end of the year," Lynch said.

An earlier evaluation of the program this year by the University of New South Wales Social Policy Research Centre found time participants spent in hospital and emergency departments decreased by 81 percent.

Lynch said the program gave people with a mental illness hope to fulfil their aspirations.

"People with a mental illness can make progress in their recovery in the community if they are given support," he said.

"The Iemma Government is proud of HASI. The program is helping people with a mental illness stay out of hospital, stay off the streets, find suitable housing and access the support they need to be a part of their community," Lynch said.

Minister for Housing Matt Brown said one of the HASI program's successes was how tenants connected with their communities.

"The HASI program addresses the very real problems that people with a mental illness face in accessing appropriate housing and support to maintain their tenancy," he said.

"It's wonderful to see so many maintaining their tenancies, and feeling safe and secure in their own home."