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

Part B: Course Detail

Teaching Period: Term1 2018

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 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. You will develop an 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 be able identify services and outreach programs available for those experiencing or at risk of homelessness. 

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. 

Details of Learning Activities

In-class activities

  • teacher directed group activities/projects 
  • peer teaching 
  • group discussion 
  • class exercises to review discussions/lectures 
  • role play activities

Out-of-class activities

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

Teaching Schedule

Workshop 1


Questions to frame the discussion: What does homelessness mean in Australia? How are people classified as homeless? Who are the homeless? Why are they homeless?

How to recognise and challenge social attitudes and personal values regarding homelessness

Structural causes that allow and maintain homelessness

Issues impacting groups and sub-groups, i.e. youth, women and children, refugee/asylum, disability, older persons - consider the complex social issues impacting on these groups

Gender experience of homelessness – family violence

Risk and contributing factors of homelessness

Where do we find out information about housing services?

Guest presenter: housing worker

Research activity for housing services

Workshop 2

Media, advocacy and homelessness


How does the media contribute to this issue? Look at positive and negative media input

The financial counselling context – where this skills/knowledge fits into your role as Financial Counsellor

Industry speaker/s

Advocacy – how advocacy works within housing context

Advocating for housing support/services with client – process for this, importance of collaboration

Collaborative practices – how to support client

Advocacy techniques – working with culture, age, gender (review CHCADV001)

Workshop 3

Co-existing issues

Recognise and respond to signs indicating that a person may have co-existing mental health and AOD issues. What are the signs? What is the appropriate response?

Identify own service provision and possible agency programs or interventions suitable for a person with dual diagnosis Working within the parameters of your organisation.

Following agency guidelines

Assessing the impact and nature of coexisting conditions on person – social, financial, legal status; with these in mind, what is possible in terms of working with this person?

What is their readiness (motivation, priorities, goals for recovery) re their MH and AOD issues?

Motivational Interviewing – as a method of approach

Research and consult with specialist services 

Working collaboratively with client

Discuss with the person their existing services and supports, and their perspective on collaboration or coordination across services.

Gather and review information on available service options and approaches with the person

Support person to make informed decisions about approaches, including resources and services.

Develop and document a plan with the person that reflects choices made 

Workshop 4

Referring to other services

Identify issues that are outside the scope of the service and/or the scope of the worker Collaboratively identify appropriate service and other support options with the person

Support positive decision making to assist the person to make informed choices about recovery options

Work collaboratively with the person to determine referral options, and responsibilities and consents required; how this works for financial counselling and other referral areas already considered, such as homelessness/housing, mental health, AOD, dual diagnosis

Follow up and evaluate referrals to ensure they have been effective

Identifying triggers and strategies to manage risks

Identifying emergency situations

Duty of care and dignity of risk

Working collaboratively, with the client, with a team of services providers

Consider reflective practices, self-care, supervision

Assessment task to be completed in class

 Workshop 5

Collaborative working arrangements for all services and client

What this means

Why this is important

How to achieve it 

Assessment task to be completed in class

 Workshop 6

Working with the client to access multiple services

Duty of care – identify, implement, maintain duty of care

Communication requirements, collaborative practices, interpreters, etc.

Barriers – recognising these, identifying with client, working with barriers

Prioritising needs with client and communicating these needs with service providers

Case conferences – facilitating these (what is required)

Assessment task to be completed in class

Multi-service providers and communication protocols, style and efficacy

How to facilitate communication between service providers to identify and manage service duplication

Monitoring progress with client and services

Obtaining client feedback

Workshop 7

Recognising and responding to crisis

Types of crisis (potential suicide, threats to harm others, self-harm, received threats, abuse, including child abuse, domestic and family violence)

Identifying the signs of crisis, includes indicators from direct/indirect communications suggesting safety issues)

Principles and practices of crisis intervention – (critical incident procedures, facilitating emergency interventions, addressing safety concerns)

Personal values, beliefs and attitudes that facilitate or impede crisis care - assumptions about who may be at risk and common notions about crisis situations

Communication skills – what these will be specifically: empathetic listening, affirming, enabling, etc.

Decision-making in the face of critical situations – processes

Seeking advice and assistance from supervisor, colleagues – look at organisational policies and procedures

Workshop 8

Legal and ethical considerations relevant to recognising and responding to crisis situations

Duty of care, privacy, confidentiality and disclosure, work role boundaries, responsibilities and limitations, mandatory reporting, codes of practice

Working with client/individual to empower – supporting them to make informed decisions re further help

Barriers to seeking or accepting help

Referral options

Completing and maintaining accurate documentation

Self-care – principles and practices (including supervision and debriefing)

Workshop 9

In-class Assessment workshop

Workshop 10

In-class Assessment workshop

Learning Resources

Prescribed Texts


Other Resources

Overview of Assessment

Your knowledge and understanding of course content is assessed through:

  • demonstrations of skills and knowledge using case studies  
  • assignments/questions requiring written responses.

Assessment Tasks

This course is delivered as a cluster but some assessments will relate specifically to individual courses.

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 Canvas for details of each assessment task and for detailed assessment criteria. The dates noted below are provisional and may be subject to change.

Assessment Task 1: Online quiz

Due date: 9 August 2018

Assessment Task 2: Case study scenarios and written questions

Due date: 12 August 2018

Assessment Task 3: Mock financial counselling interview (role play)

In class: 24 & 25 October 2018

Grades that apply to courses that are delivered and assessed in accordance with competency-based assessment are:

CA: Competency Achieved
NYC: Not Yet Competent
DNS: Did not Submit for Assessment

Assessment Matrix

The assessment matrix demonstrates alignment of assessment tasks with the relevant unit of competency.  These matrices are available with the assessment tasks on Canvas.

Other Information

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


It is strongly advised that you attend all sessions in order to engage in the required learning activities, ensuring the maximum opportunity to gain the competency.

Applying for Special Consideration

If you are seeking an extension of more than seven calendar days (from the original due date) you must lodge an Application for Special Consideration form, preferably prior to, but no later than two working days after the official due date. Late applications will only be accepted in exceptional circumstances. For information about Special Consideration and how to apply, see:

Assessment Appeals

If you believe your assessment result or final result is wrong please contact the course coordinator and provide the reason why you think your result is incorrect. Valid reasons for seeking a review of results include:

  1. a) You believe an error has occurred in the calculation of the grade; or,
  2. b) You believe the assessment did not comply with criteria published in the Course Guide; or,
  3. c) You believe the assessment did not comply with University Policies on Assessment (i.e. an error in process has occurred).

Full details of the procedure (including appeals procedure) can be located at this RMIT site:

Academic Integrity

Academic integrity means honesty and responsibility in scholarship through respecting the work of others whilst having the freedom to build new insights, new knowledge and ideas. RMIT University upholds the values of academic integrity as fundamental to the scholarship undertaken by all members of its community. Whenever you refer to another person’s research or ideas (either by directly quoting or paraphrasing them) you must acknowledge your source.

If you are even in doubt about how to properly cite a reference, consult your lecturer or the academic integrity website:

The RMIT library provides tools to assist with your referencing

Plagiarism and Collusion

Plagiarism and collusion constitute extremely serious academic misconduct, and are forms of cheating. You are reminded that cheating, whether by fabrication, falsification of data, or plagiarism, is an offence subject to University disciplinary procedures. Plagiarism is the presentation of the work, idea or creation of another person as though it is your own. It is a form of cheating and is a very serious academic offence that may lead to expulsion from the University. Plagiarised material can be drawn from, and presented in, written, graphic and visual form, including electronic data, and oral presentations. Plagiarism occurs when the origin of the material used is not appropriately cited. Plagiarism is not acceptable.

Examples of plagiarism include:

  • Copying sentences or paragraphs word-for-word from one or more sources, whether published or unpublished, which could include but is not limited to books, journals, reports, theses, websites, conference papers, course notes, etc. without proper citation;
  • Closely paraphrasing sentences, paragraphs, ideas or themes without proper citation;
  • Piecing together text from one or more sources and adding only linking sentences;
  • Copying or submitting whole or parts of computer files without acknowledging their source;
  • Copying designs or works of art and submitting them as your original work;
  • Copying a whole or any part of another student's work; and
  • Submitting work as your own that someone else has done for you.
  • Enabling Plagiarism: the act of assisting or allowing another person to plagiarise or to copy your own work is also an offence.

For further information, please see the RMIT Plagiarism Policy –;ID=sg4yfqzod48g1 (unresolved) – and the RMIT Student Conduct Regulations –;ID=r7a7an6qug93

Complaints Procedure:

RMIT University is committed to providing a harmonious study and work environment for all students and staff. The University recognises your right to raise concerns about academic, administrative or support services without recrimination and has policies and procedures to assist in the resolution of complaints.

Most issues are resolved at the local level and you are encouraged to take steps to resolve your issue locally. The student complaint procedure details steps to take if your problem is not resolved or you believe the response you received is unreasonable. See this link on the RMIT webpage for further information:

Working with Children Check – This course requires a Working with Children Check

Police Check – This course requires a satisfactory Police Check

Course Overview:  Access Course Overview

Course Overview: Access Course Overview