Individual Social Advocacy
Individual advocacy is speaking, acting and writing on behalf of a vulnerable person whose human rights are being denied and whose fundamental needs are not being met. SUFY provides short, medium and long term social advocacy.
Some examples of how an advocate can assist
• Assist people to obtain appropriate housing
• Assist people to maintain their tenancy
• Assist people to access appropriate mental health services
• Provide support at mental health tribunal
• Provide support at QCAT hearings in relation to matters of Guardianship, Restrictive Practices and Administration
• Assist people who are involved in the criminal justice system
• Assist people to access appropriate legal services when necessary
• Raise complaints and bring to the attention of the relevant authorities incidents of abuse and neglect
• Assist people who have been forced to live in inappropriate settings such as nursing homes or health facilities to get their support needs met
• Assist people to address issues of discrimination
• Assist people to access necessary and appropriate equipment
• Support people to have as much choice and control in their life as possible
• Assist people to access necessary and adequate funding to meet their needs
• Raise complaints regarding service gaps and/or reduction in service provision
• Raise complaints regarding service policy and procedure which impacts on a person’s support by restricting their independence and individual choice
• Assist people with ongoing matters with the Public Guardian or Public Trustee
• Assist people to navigate and negotiate the NDIS
• Provide information about and support people through the NDIS Appeals Process
Jenna is 49 years old with a mild intellectual disability who had lived in the same public housing home all of her life. The tenancy agreement for this house was solely in her father’s name and all attempts to have Jenna listed to the tenancy agreement were unsuccessful.
So when Jenna’s father recently passed away Jenna was left with no tenancy agreement with Qld Housing. She was the only person residing in the house and Qld Housing wanted the premises for larger families. They demanded that Jenna leave and remove all items from the property.
SUFY provided advocacy for Jenna. We informed her of her tenancy rights and assisted Jenna to speak with Qld Housing informing them of her intention to stay in the house. It had been the only home Jenna had ever known. Jenna attended all meetings and SUFY encouraged and supported her to speak up about her unique situation. She was at risk of being evicted because her name was not on the tenancy agreement. Jenna was very vulnerable and at risk of being made homeless.
Qld Housing was also trying to hold her responsible for the hoarding in the house. These items belonged to her father and brother. Jenna had no authority to clean up or remove anything from the house while her father was alive.
Jenna was not confident nor competent to deal with this situation by herself. SUFY assisted Jenna to obtain information on tenancy rights and to write a letter to Qld Housing. This letter identified that Jenna was not responsible for the condition of her home. She was not listed as a tenant and this was not grounds for eviction.
In our role as advocates SUFY attended all meetings between Qld Housing and Jenna. SUFY assisted Jenna to explore alternative housing options that were suitable and accessible and in her local community where her familiar supports are located.
By developing a trusting relationship with Jenna, SUFY was able to negotiate more vigorously on Jenna’s behalf. SUFY was also able to assist Jenna to speak up for herself in relation to her tenancy rights and her lack of control over the results of her family’s hoarding
When SUFY first met Charlie he was residing in an emergency accommodation facility. Isolated from his community and informal networks Charlie had limited say over the direction his life took. After a prolonged period of sickness and an extended stay in hospital the Public Guardian had been appointed for all personal matters. They had made the decision that upon discharge from hospital Charlie would move to a short term emergency accommodation facility. Even though this facility was extremely inappropriate for Charlie and did not meet his needs it had been identified that there were no alternative options available for him.
Charlie was of the understanding that his stay in this facility would only be for a few months until Disability Services and the Public Guardian sourced long term suitable accommodation. However as the months went by and no option was identified for Charlie his frustration built. After years of sickness and seclusion Charlie was ready to get back into the community and move on with his life.
Eventually Charlie was asked to leave the emergency accommodation facility. The relationship between him and the service provider had broken down. At this time Charlie was given 2 options. Move into a block funded co-tenancy arrangement with 2 other individuals with extremely high support needs or return to the family home with minimal formal supports in place. Both options were inappropriate and unsuitable for Charlies but he was told there were no alternative options.
SUFY felt Charlie had the capacity to make his own decisions if given sufficient support and time. SUFY worked with Charlie and relevant stakeholders to ensure Charlie had all the correct and necessary information he required about both options. This allowed for genuine and extensive consultation to be had with Charlie prior to the Public Guardian making the final decision. The outcome was Charlie would return home with minimal formal support in place.
SUFY continued to advocate for Charlie’s fundamental needs to be met
• appropriate, accessible, affordable housing
• sufficient individual funding to meet Charlie’s support needs
• support provided by a respectful and flexible service provider who understood Charlie’s support needs
• Charlie having control back over his life and no longer having the Public Guardian appointed for all personal matters.
The outcome of SUFY’s advocacy was, Charlie now makes all his own decisions as the appointment of the Public Guardian was removed. He has his own affordable, accessible unit in the community and individual recurrent funding. Charlie’s support is provided by a service provider he decided upon who he has a good relationship with.