29 August 2022

Minister for Housing Danny Pearson has been one of the first visitors at the newly opened Haven Epping, a 16-unit social housing and support residence for people with significant mental health concerns.

Haven Epping is the latest in a series of residences developed in partnership between Mind Australia and community housing provider The Haven Foundation – a subsidiary of Mind. The Epping residence is as part of the Victorian Government’s Big Housing Build initiative to create 2000 supported housing places for people with mental ill-health.

The Haven Foundation’s integrated social housing and support services provide high quality, long-ter housing with support to help people living with mental ill-health live life to the fullest.

At Haven Epping, Supported Independent Living services are provided to residents who have NDIS funding for assistance with activities of daily living. Mind Australia’s qualified and experienced staff provide 24/7 support for residents.

Mind is one of the largest providers of community-managed psychosocial services in Australia. It has been providing mental health and wellbeing support to people their families, friends and carers for more than 40 years. Mind staff help residents with daily life tasks and to develop their skills for independent living.

Mind CEO Gill Callister said The Haven Foundation residences provide an important balance for residents with significant mental ill-health, offering a safe living environment while encouraging independence. 

“The Haven Foundation model is proven to provide stability, independence and a greater sense of belonging, confidence and responsibility to our clients. 

“In many cases, residents are able to break a cycle of homelessness and mental ill-health which has led to hospitalisations in the past,” Ms Callister said. Nearly 20% of residents experienced homelessness prior to moving in to a Haven residence in the past 12 months.

“The Haven Foundation residences enable people with significant long-term mental health issues to lead successful and fulfilling lives in the community.” 

Joel, 23, moved into Haven Epping a week ago and said it is just what he has been looking for. 

“I wanted to live alone but have some support, so Haven is really giving me that. Once I’m settled in I want to get my licence and start doing some volunteer work and get out there in the community.”

Haven Epping’s Service Manager Kim Chalmers said it is great to see each of the residents settling in so quickly when they move into their new home. 

“I have seen many clients in other services achieve amazing transformations when they have the security of a stable home and the support from Mind practitioners to build their life skills and achieve their goals. I can’t wait to see our residents have the same success,” she said.

Like most Mind support services, Haven Epping’s staff includes a peer practitioner. This is a qualified mental health practitioner who has their own lived experience of mental ill-health. Peer practitioners have a unique ability to connect with clients, gain their trust and inspire them on their recovery journey.

The Haven Foundation and Mind also promote and support the involvement of family, friends and other carers in the lives of residents, as appropriate to each person's needs.

Each of the Haven complex’s 16 one bedroom units provide main bedroom with built-in wardrobe, bathroom, kitchen and eating area, European laundry, lounge room and outdoor courtyard or balcony.

The residence also features well-appointed communal recreational and lounge areas, kitchen, meeting spaces and on-site overnight facilities for the around-the-clock support staff. Haven Epping is set in smartly landscaped grounds. Kim Chalmers said it provides a great environment to focus on recovery, creates a sense of community and a place to feel at home.

“This service provides much needed support to people in the northern suburbs or Melbourne who have been struggling to live independently and manage their mental health. We are so glad to be here and part of the community.”

The Haven Foundation - integrated social housing and support services, managed by Mind, are located in South Yarra, Frankston, Geelong, Laverton, Mooroopna - and now Epping. 

More residences are being built in Seymour, Pakenham, Drouin, Ballarat and Bendigo as part of the Victorian Government’s Big Housing Build initiative through Homes Victoria.

If this article raises concerns for you, please call Lifeline on 13 11 14. Aboriginal and Torres Straits Islanders can also call 13 YARN (13 92 76) a 24/7 national crisis support telephone service staffed by Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples.