Course Title: Work with people experiencing or at risk of homelessness

Part B: Course Detail

Teaching Period: Term1 2016

Course Code: HWSS6073C

Course Title: Work with people experiencing or at risk of homelessness

School: 365T Global, Urban and Social Studies

Campus: City Campus

Program: C5360 - Diploma of Financial Counselling

Course Contact: Jo Wallwork

Course Contact Phone: +61 3 9925 3983

Course Contact Email:

Name and Contact Details of All Other Relevant Staff

Nominal Hours: 85

Regardless of the mode of delivery, represent a guide to the relative teaching time and student effort required to successfully achieve a particular competency/module. This may include not only scheduled classes or workplace visits but also the amount of effort required to undertake, evaluate and complete all assessment requirements, including any non-classroom activities.

Pre-requisites and Co-requisites


Course Description

This course describes the skills and knowledge required to work with people who are experiencing homelessness or at risk of becoming homeless, including women and children experiencing family violence.

This course is clustered with three (3) other courses:

  • CHCMHS005 Provide services to people with co-existing mental health and alcohol and other drugs issues
  • CHCCSM004 Coordinate complex case requirements
  • CHCCCS019 Recognise and respond to crisis situations

National Codes, Titles, Elements and Performance Criteria

National Element Code & Title:

CHCSOH001 Work with people experiencing or at risk of homelessness


E1. Address issues associated with people who are experiencing homelessness or risk of becoming homeless

Performance Criteria:

1.1 Be aware of own personal values and attitudes regarding homelessness and take these into account when planning and implementing work activities

1.2 Identify barriers in accessing safe, secure housing for people in specific circumstances experiencing homelessness or at risk of becoming homeless

1.3 Where appropriate, ensure opportunities are provided for the person to participate in service planning and support activities

1.4 Assess the personal safety of those experiencing homelessness or at risk of becoming homeless, including young homeless to ensure they are not in an unsafe situation and report and refer appropriately

1.5 Assess issues impacting on the person’s homelessness risk or situation and modify the approach to service delivery

1.6 Work with the person to identify and discuss potential solutions to complex issues raised, including referral to appropriate services and personnel

1.7 Provide advice and assistance on housing options 


E2. Support and advocate for people who are experiencing homelessness or at risk of becoming homeless

Performance Criteria:

2.1 Advocate and negotiate for services in conjunction with the person and according to the person’s needs

2.2 Support the person to advocate and/or negotiate on their own behalf and to deal with discrimination

2.3 Negotiate and create access pathways to support services and the full range of social and private housing providers

2.4 Use a range of advocacy techniques that take into account differing cultural backgrounds, are age appropriate and gender sensitive

2.5 Advocate within the community to facilitate addressing issues on behalf of people who are experiencing homelessness or at risk of becoming homeless

Learning Outcomes

On successful completion of this course you will have developed and applied the skills and knowledge required to demonstrate competency in the above elements. By applying these skills and this knowledge you will be have a good understanding of the housing issues that face your clients, including how the system of housing has developed in Australia, the legal and ethical implications of homelessness, and services and outreach programs available for those experiencing or at risk of homelessness. 

Details of Learning Activities


In-class activities

  • Industry speakers
  • teacher directed group activities
  • peer teaching 
  • group discussion 
  • class exercises to review discussions/lectures 

Out-of-class activities

  • independent project based work 
  • online and other research 
  • independent study

Teaching Schedule


Please note: While your teacher will cover all the material in this schedule, the weekly order is subject to change depending on class needs and availability of speakers and resources.



Assessment due

Units of competency addressed



  • Introduction to the course structure and assessment
  • ‘What does homelessness mean in Australia?

How are people classified as homeless?’

Who are the homeless?

Why are they homeless?

To challenge social attitudes and personal values regarding homelessness.


  • Structural causes that allow and maintain homelessness. Issues impacting an examination of groups & sub-groups, i.e. youth, women & children, refugee/asylum, gender experiencing homelessness & the complex social issues impacting on these groups. Risk and contributing factors of homelessness.


  • State & federal funding – Statutory framework overhead slides discussing funding in Australia for homelessness and SAAP service provision.


  • Social policy, government approach and initiatives, National Quality framework in addressing homelessness.


  • Types of housing, Housing Types, primary, secondary and tertiary homelessness.


  • Values, attitudes, human right issues & government responses to homelessness.


  • Human Rights legislation - Exploring human Rights as a violation of the state of homelessness. Discussion and class participation


  • Maslow’s Hierarchy of needs - discussing

And examining the theory of Maslow and how this relates to housing and homelessness in Australia.


  • Family violence and the legal requirements - mandatory reporting/ child protection. The complexities and risk factors associated with homelessness and family violence issues.


Assessment 1: 28 April 2016

Assessment 2: 17 May 2016

Assessment 3: 17 May 2016



  • Examining Mental Health and substance abuse as a range of issues impacting on people experiencing or at rick of homelessness


  • Examining the legal system and the needs of homeless people with access to representation in the courts and navigation of the justice system.


  • Launch Housing – Guest speaker and community members currently experiencing tell their own stories about homelessness.


  • Discussion regarding the presentation from Launch Housing


  • Cultural issues impacting on housing accessibility for new settlement groups – refugee and asylum seekers



  • Housing supply in Australia, the current economic situation as it relates to and affects social housing and the subsequent impact on client needs.


  • The rental property market and overseas investment, housing boom and bust. Economic factors in Australia and overseas impacting on supply/demand of housing


  • Examining case studies in Financial Counselling, referring to housing support services & what is available


  • Negotiate access pathways - referral


  • Financial counselling practice, advocacy techniques, advice, support, planning & casework.


  • Assisting clients with their own planning





Learning Resources

Prescribed Texts


Other Resources

Overview of Assessment

Your knowledge and understanding of course content is assessed through:

  • Group work 
  • The application of practical skills and knowledge in a case study scenario
  • Researching service provision in the housing sector

Assessment Tasks




This course is assessed in accordance with competency-based assessment.



To demonstrate competency in this course you will need to complete the following assessment tasks to a satisfactory standard. You will receive feedback from the teacher when you have completed the assessment tasks.

You should refer to the assessment plan which is available on Blackboard for details of each assessment task and for detailed assessment criteria. 

Assessment Task 1:
Group Oral Presentation – Case Study


Due date: 28 April 2016

Assessment Task 2: Research Project

Due date: 17 May 2016

Assessment Task 3:Case Study – Short answer responses

Due date: 17 May 2016

Assessment Matrix


The assessment matrix demonstrates alignment of assessment tasks with the relevant unit of competency. These matrices are available through Program Administration.

Other Information


Please refer to the RMIT student page for extensive information about study support, assessment, extensions, appeals and a range of other matters:

Course Overview: Access Course Overview