Homelessness support services

This service description provides information regarding homeless support services.
Document ID number 2729, version 2, 18 May 2016.

People experiencing homelessness or housing crisis are provided a service via local access points.  Services include: an assessment; access to short term, crisis or transitional housing; support; assistance to secure or maintain current accommodation; housing advice; financial assistance; and, referral.

Homelessness services

Homelessness services are provided for:

  • families and individuals who are homeless or at risk of homelessness;
  • women and children who are escaping family violence;
  • young people between the ages of 16 and 24 years who are homeless, at risk of homelessness or escaping family violence.

Homelessness, as defined by MacKenzie and Chamberlain (1992) includes:

  • Primary homelessness - experienced by people without conventional accommodation (for example sleeping rough or in impoverished dwellings)
  • Secondary homelessness – experienced by people who move frequently from one temporary shelter to another (for example emergency accommodation, refuge accommodation, or ‘couch surfing’)
  • Tertiary homelessness – experienced by people staying in accommodation that falls below minimum community standards (such as in a boarding house or caravan park).
Access to homelessness services

Homelessness, family violence and youth access points triage clients based on their presenting initial need. Assessment occurs at the first presentation wherever possible. The provision of an interim response, within the relevant homelessness catchment, occurs based on capacity and prioritised need.

Due to demand pressures, prioritisation of resource allocation occurs.  Prioritisation is based on support need, housing need and personal vulnerability.  Need is determined as high, medium or low.

Emergency contacts
  • Women and children who are in danger from family violence should call Victoria Police on 000.
  • Safe Steps a statewide 24 hour telephone information and referral line - 1800 015 188. This is a free call from landlines and call backs can be requested to mobile phones. Safe Steps is an access point to refuge and crisis short term accommodation for the state of Victoria. Workers can also provide telephone support and risk assessment.
  • The contact number for people experiencing homelessness is 1800 825 955.  This is a statewide 24 hour number that will divert the caller to the nearest access point during the day. This is a free call from land lines. Those using a mobile phone will need to request a call back. After 5.00pm, the calls are diverted to the St Kilda Crisis Service.


Useful links
  • Safe Steps Family Violence Response Centre (formerly Women's Domestic Violence Crisis (DVC) Service)


  • St Kilda Crisis Contact Centre


  • Melbourne Youth Support Service (MYSS)



Related procedures