Our Frontline Workers Need Support
Frontline homelessness case work is distressing and enormously stressful. Staff burnout happens regularly. Workers often suffer ‘vicarious trauma’ as a result of being regularly exposed to the distressing circumstances of clients, and the lack of options they have for supporting people in crisis.
On top of this along came COVID-19. Workloads increased and thousands of rough sleepers were rapidly identified, accommodated and supported. Outreach services, including health, helped people on the street, in boarding houses or emergency accommodation. Through 2022 the work load on smaller services has increased as COVID cases rose, and the cost of living and housing crisis intensified. Demand on services has never been so high.
To respond we set up SmartCare in late 2020 to enable us all to support workers to sustain services to vulnerable people. Your donations will fund critical programs such as:
- Psychologist sessions including critical debriefing, reflective practice and remote counselling
- Mental health first aid courses
- Self-care initiatives including vouchers, new staff equipment, and team building sessions
”I think SmartCare is an amazing idea to look after our staff. Many are over stretched due to constantly going above and beyond. Our residential staff regularly witness and experience abuse and vicarious trauma, in a system that doesn’t really function. You need to be tenacious to work here.~ Frontline Manager
Pictured: South Port Community Housing Group
Pictured: St John’s Youth Services
SmartCare Impact Grants
Frontline workers have done an amazing job caring for some of our most vulnerable and marginalised people. It’s crucial that workers have good support for their mental and physical well-being. We have completed three rounds of SmartCare Community Grants directly supporting staff wellbeing programs at 33 frontline homelessness domestic violence and community services across Australia, building a stronger more resilient workforce. We have also provided two grants to Council to Homeless Persons to develop online Self Care Training for the sector and scholarships for regional staff to attend in person training. In total approximately 651 staff have been supported.