Page 1995 - Week 07 - Wednesday, 28 June 2023

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individual applicant, providing a simpler, user-friendly option to apply for housing assistance. The online form performs real-life calculations for eligibility, bedroom entitlement and the level of risk and need, which will determine the category the applicant is assigned on the waitlist. This category will be provided to the applicant at the time that their application is submitted.

Providing real-time category information enables clients to provide appropriately timed supporting documentation. This forms the basis of an “apply now and provide evidence later” process to ensure that we only ask for evidence when an applicant is closer to receiving a property offer, significantly reducing the impost on applicants to resubmit documentation multiple times.

The client engagement portal and online application form have all been built so that, regardless of the device someone is using, the format and the layout will automatically render for optimal viewing and use on their device, including mobile phones. Clients will have the ability to save their application as a draft and come back to it at a later stage, track progress once submitted, upload their supporting evidence, and receive communications via email and notifications in the portal.

As applicants step through the online and self-paced application, they will receive advice on their eligibility for social housing and where they are likely to be placed on the waitlist. Applicants can choose to progress or discontinue their application based on this advice. I would like to stress that this update to the application and assessment process is aimed at making the application process easier for applicants. The online application will never replace the importance of personal interaction, nor will it be the only option to apply for social housing.

For those who do not have a device or are not confident with technology, Housing ACT’s shopfront will still have the hardcopy forms for people who prefer them, as well as computers available for use and skilled staff on-hand to assist people through the process. This online form is just the first step in the application and assessment process. The team responsible for managing applications will contact clients who indicate higher needs to help with the next steps in the process.

Applicants with urgent, exceptional or critical need for social housing will receive direct follow-ups from Housing ACT staff to support them with an immediate housing need. This will include Housing ACT talking to the applicant and any other support services as required to ensure that the applicant’s situation has been appropriately captured in digital form and all relevant support information has been included to ensure accurate assessment of their applications.

There will be times when an applicant’s circumstances may warrant further discussion, particularly if they identify complex circumstances that may be impacting on their day-to-day lives. In recognition of this, the project is also working on a re-evaluation of the purpose and function of the Multi-Disciplinary Panel, the MDP, which was initially established in 2007 to assess whether applications for housing assistance met the eligibility criteria for the priority housing category. While this current function of the MDP and its decision-making framework will no longer be applicable in the new application and assessment system, it will still play a key role as a forum that supports the multi-case coordination for applicants who require a more coordinated response.

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