Housing Assistance services explained by Sebastien

February 18, 2021

Link Housing launched its Housing Assistance services in December 2018, following the Social Housing Management Transfer from the NSW Department of Communities and Justice (DCJ).

Largely consisting of products that were previously delivered by DCJ in Northern Sydney, Link Housing’s Housing Assistance services are delivered by our Access and Demand team, led by Sebastien Barbe.

Given waiting periods for social housing can be up to ten years, these services are designed to help those who are waiting for suitable social housing or need to urgently leave an unsafe environment.

Here we talk to Sebastien to learn more about the team and their services.

Tell us a bit about the Access and Demand team?

The team was set up to provide services to help those who are, or are at risk of becoming, homeless. Three years on from the launch, we’ve grown to twelve people in specialist roles varying from Private Rental Specialist to Together Home Specialist. Over the last year alone, the team together helped over 300 clients.

What services does the team provide?

We offer a range of services to meet the individual situation of each client, including:

  • Homelessness and temporary accommodation services, including the Together Home program – for people who are experiencing homelessness including rough sleeping. If you need urgent housing, please call the homeless services helpline ‘Link2Home’ on 1800 152 152 or Link Housing on 9412 5111.
  • Rent Choice Start Safely scheme – for individuals escaping domestic and family violence.
  • Private Rental Assistance scheme – for those on the social housing waiting list who are at risk in their current accommodation.  

Our Housing Assistance services expanded in 2020 in response to COVID-19 and with increased support from the NSW Government for homelessness outreach and rapid housing via extra funding and their Together Home program.

The Together Home program saw us provide stable, long-term housing and support services via partners to another 23 clients who were previously homeless in our local area.

Visit our Housing Assistance page to read more about each service we offer. 

How does Link Housing’s Housing Assistance services differ from its Social Housing Services? How do I apply?

Our Housing Assistance services can provide urgent housing and support for people who are homelessness or find alternative housing solutions in the private market while clients wait for social housing. Like social housing, most of our Housing Assistance services are managed through DCJ where clients complete a Housing Pathways form. Housing Pathways provides a single application process, and waiting list known as the NSW Housing Register. Our team can help you complete the Housing Pathways application form. 

Who is eligible for Housing Assistance?

For most of our Housing Assistance services, clients must be eligible for social housing. Other criteria for each service apply and evidence of a client’s situation is required. E.g., for the Start Safely program, clients also need to be escaping a domestic and family violence situation and are homeless or at risk of homelessness. Read our Private Rental Assistance and Start Safely fact sheets for eligibility requirements.   

Is there a wait list for Housing Assistance also?

Yes, apart from the Government’s Together Home program, all other Housing Assistance services are applied for through Housing Pathways where clients are placed on the NSW Housing Register.

Do clients have to live in Northern Sydney to access Link Housing’s Housing Assistance products and services?

No, we have a no wrong door policy, and we will assist anyone who attends our offices, either directly or through a referral.  

How does Link Housing find the right property and support for a client?

During the initial contact, an Access and Demand staff member will spend a considerable amount of time with the client to make sure they understand the process. We conduct a full assessment to understand their situation and make an informed decision as to which housing assistance products would be more suited to them. We work directly with the private market to find and secure suitable properties for our Private Rental Assistance and Start Safely clients.

If you are a landlord or real estate agent and you would like to see how you can partner with us, please read our fact sheet.

What is the team’s approach to client service?

Our mission is to provide a housing outcome for every client who comes through our doors seeking housing assistance. This mission drives us to see every client as unique and provide tailored solutions. We treat all our clients with the upmost respect while acknowledging the challenges they currently face. The team, like all staff at Link Housing, embrace the organisation’s values and use an honest and transparent approach when working with clients.

Do you need our Housing Assistance services?

Please read our fact sheets below or contact our Access and Demand team by calling 9412 5111, emailing enquiries@linkwentworth.org.au or, by completing our Contact Us Form.

Private Rental Assistance Fact Sheet  

Start Safely Fact Sheet