News

Peninsula Community Legal Centre is proud to launch our rooming house report – Open the Door! The Resident’s View of Life in a Rooming House

The report highlights the challenges rooming house residents face being forced to live in inadequate or unsafe marginal housing such as rooming houses when unable to access affordable housing

Through our work in Rooming Houses connecting rooming house residents to health, housing and legal services and reporting breaches of minimum standards to regulators. ‘Open the Door!  The Residents View of Life in a Rooming House’ reflects the voices of people we have met through this work, and sheds light on the little known conditions of their daily life on the margins.

Open the Door! The Resident’s View of life in a Rooming House

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We are pleased to announce Peninsula Community Legal Centre is celebrating a new probono partnership with Gadens Lawyers.   The partnership will support PCLC’s family law team, particularly in relation to the most vulnerable and disadvantaged family law clients.

PCLC is thrilled to be building on its relationship with Gadens to strengthen the Centre’s  capacity to help more vulnerable people resolve their family law issues.

This partnership will be particularly helpful given the complex and often protracted nature of the family law work conducted by the Centre.

Read more (link to media release) https://www.gadens.com/news-gadens-signs-mou-with-one-of-the-largest-community-legal-centres-in-australia/

 

 

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The Work and Development Permit (WDP) Scheme is a social justice initiative by Fines Victoria that allows eligible people to ‘work off’ their unpaid fines by engaging with health practitioners & organisations (known as ‘sponsors’). Sponsors provide treatment, courses and other activities and report participation to help reduce this debt.

Peninsula Community Legal Centre (PCLC) has received funding from the Legal Services Board to develop the WDP Information Package.  This does not replace reading material provided by the Fines Victoria WDP Team.

The WDP Information Package is designed to assist sponsors (health practitioners and organisations) integrate the WDP Scheme and includes –

  1. Sponsor Poster: Editable PDF format
  2. WDP Brochure
  3. Client Intake Sheet: Optional fillable PDF form (incl. pg. 2 Fines Victoria Information Consent Form)
  4. Client Attendance Sheet: Optional fillable PDF form

You can access the WDP Information Package at https://pclc.org.au/get-information/information-about-us/

Please contact Laura Sanderson (Project Worker at PCLC) on 9783 3600 or lsanderson@pclc.org.au if you are interested in knowing more.

This project has been generously funded by the Legal Services Board.

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PCLC has welcomed the opportunity to contribute to the Royal Commission into Victoria’s Mental Health system. We have made recommendations with the aim to improve the provision of legal assistance to the most disadvantaged and vulnerable client’s in our community. These recommendations are informed by our extensive work with those experiencing psychosocial disability.

With over 50% of our family law clients experiencing family violence, we have seen the detrimental impact that exposure to family violence can have on our client’s mental well- being.

We are hoping our submission will contribute to the Commission’s aim to improve Victoria’s mental health system and enable Victorians to have the best outcomes in relation to mental health care.

To read our full Submission please click here Submission to Royal Commision into Mental Health July 2019

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Fines debt – a real problem

Fines debt is money owed through incurring infringements such as public transport, toll, council and traffic fines.

The impact this debt has on vulnerable people in our catchment is devastating.  Peninsula Community Legal Centre’s (PCLC) infringement clients have an average of over $11,000 in fines debt.

In the past, we have had limited options to help clients deal with their fines debt.  However, there is now a Victorian government initiative that could change this.

PCLC has recognised the potential of this Scheme and has recently received funding from the Legal Services Board to integrate the Work and Development (WDP) Scheme into Melbourne’s southern region.

What is a WDP?

WDPs allow vulnerable people (those experiencing addiction, mental illness or cognitive impairment, homelessness, family violence or acute financial hardship) to ‘work off’ their fines debt rather than pay money out of their pocket.

Health practitioners and organisations can become accredited sponsors by applying online with Fines Victoria.  They can then provide activities so that the time a client spends engaged with their service they can clear their fines debt.

Different ‘activities’ attract different work off rates.

For example, clients can engage in a treatment given by a health practitioner or drug and alcohol counselling and work off $1,090.45 (6.6 penalty units) per month of their fines debt.

Clients can also engage in unpaid work, a course, counselling (incl. financial) or a mentoring program (under 25 years) and work off $49.57 (0.3 penalty units) per hour of their fines debt.

Some effects of this Scheme include:

  • Vulnerable clients are able to address their legal and health needs in a preventative, therapeutic way;
  • Clients report feeling empowered when they take responsibility for their fines debt; and
  • Sponsors are able to provide an additional incentive for clients to attend their appointments.
Sam’s Story

 Sam has bipolar and gets a Disability Support Pension.  He has $10,000 in unpaid fines.  Sam gets a referral from his doctor and is put on a mental health care plan.  Sam sees a psychologist once a month and reduces his fines debt by $1,090.45 per month.  Sam eliminated his fines debt in 10 months.

More information

PCLC is seeking to work with health practitioners and organisations so that mutual clients can receive a ‘wrap around’ service.

Please contact Laura (Project Worker at PCLC) on 9873 3600 or lsanderson@pclc.org.au if you are interested in becoming a sponsor.
Additional information can be found on the WDP at https://pclc.org.au/get-information/information-about-us/.

You can also contact the Fines Victoria WDP Operation Team on 1300 323 483.

 

 

 

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