Daily News - Thursday 8 January 2015

Posted 8 January 2015 6:56am

Data and homelessness
E. B. The Economist

In a hospital emergency room, patients with the most urgent problems are usually treated first. It makes little sense to mend a broken finger if someone is waiting with a heart attack. Yet this one-size-fits-all approach has long informed the way the country handles homelessness. Housing subsidies and assorted services are often doled out on a first come-first served basis, regardless of need. With waiting times measured in years, and little co-ordination between agencies, the homeless who are best served tend to be the easiest to treat, as they are the most capable of navigating—and tolerating—a Byzantine bureaucracy. The most critical cases often end up slipping between the cracks.

Cities can save a lot of money if they swiftly place these needy cases in supportive permanent housing—a plan known as Housing First—while offering fewer services to those who can better help themselves.


A nation shamed when the solution for its children is homelessness
Gerry Georgatos, The Stringer

It is not often I am brought to tears but this morning I was bereft as I left behind a beautiful family of five who have been homeless for 9 months. They have been living in a single tent in bush on the northern outskirts of Perth. Four beautiful girls are homeless but in their loving mother’s vigilant care. Their bastion of hope, all their hope, rests in the dignity of remaining united.

“I would cry if I was to be taken away from my mother. I would cry if they took me away from my sisters,” said seven year old Alkira, whose name in Bibbelmun/Noongar means “angel sent from heaven”.


Melbourne's homeless to get free entry to movies and pools to escape heat
Oliver Milman, The Guardian

The City of Melbourne will offer homeless people free passes to the movies and swimming pools amid fears that the summer heat will prove to be a “silent killer” of those unable to escape it.

The city’s heatwave and homeless strategy sets out measures to help homeless people during the expected heatwave, delivered by six homelessness groups including the Salvation Army and Youth Projects.


There used to be a drop-in centre where a boy died from sniffing aerosol. It might have saved his life
Tristan Ray and Blair McFarland, The Guardian

Over the road from where a 12-year-old Indigenous boy was found dying in the Coles car park in Alice Springs last weekend, there used to be a night time drop-in centre run by the local Indigenous health service.

Trained youth workers would have been there engaging with the local young people. If it had been open, the boy who died might have been saved. He might not even have been abusing inhalants if there was some other option that night, like playing pool or cruising the internet in a bright place surrounded by friends. But the drop-in centre was closed last year by the Northern Territory government.


Tasmanian fruit producer accused of shunning local workers over busy harvest season
Emily Bryan and Alex Blucher, ABC

One of Australia's biggest fruit producers has been accused of shunning would-be harvest workers in Tasmania.

Costa Group recently advertised for hundreds of vacancies for berry picking jobs for locals in the state's north-west.

But many local residents suspected they would be overlooked by the company, which had concerns about the reliability of the region's job seekers.


Claims Tasmanian fruit pickers enduring 'disgusting' living conditions
Tyson Shine, ABC

Questions are being raised about the living conditions seasonal fruit pickers are enduring in Tasmania.

Locals have complained of an explosion in the number of unregulated share-house-type accommodation.


Seasonal work can have its challenges
Libby Bingham, The Advocate

Workers need to be fit enough and come with a willing attitude.

Workers may also need to come back as many times as it takes to get the job if they really want it.

If that's your approach you demonstrate how much you want to work and put in the hard yards.

Which enhances your future employability and can lead onto some other job opportunities.


Unemployed? You shouldn’t just take any job
Stephen Bevan, The Washington Post

Being in poor-quality work which, perhaps, is boring, routine or represents underemployment or a poor match for the employee’s skills is widely regarded as a good way for the unemployed to remain connected to the labor market – and to keep the work habit. But Butterworth’s data contradict this. The HILDA data show unambiguously that the psychosocial quality of bad jobs is worse than unemployment.


UK - Reducing inequalities in mental health is a task for the whole of government and all sectors
Ruth Bell, British Politics & Policy

While mental disorders may affect anyone in society, there is a social gradient in common mental disorders (depression and anxiety) with a higher prevalence found among those living in poorer households. What can be done? Early identification of people at risk and action on the social determinants is essential, writes Ruth Bell.


We know mental illnesses run in families but we still don’t protect children
Sam Cartwright-Hatton, The Conversation

Mental illness runs in families. This is well known and uncontroversial. There is much that we could do to reduce this risk, but we currently do almost nothing.

A parent with mental illness is several times more likely to have a child with psychological problems than a healthy parent. For example, a child whose parent has an anxiety disorder has a one in three chance of developing an anxiety disorder of their own. If both of their parents has an anxiety disorder, the odds rise to two in three.


Welfare Peaks to Fight ‘Devastating’ Funding Cuts
Pro Bono News

Peak welfare Not for Profits ACOSS and State and Territory Councils of Social Service have issued a collective New Years Resolution for the Federal Government to stop devastating funding cuts to community organisations across Australia.

'We are determined to convince the Federal Government to reverse its decision to cut funding from community organisations around the country as well as the key national community peak bodies in the housing, homelessness, disability areas, two days before Christmas," ACOSS CEO Cassandra Goldie said.


Charity reputations: Salvos drop sharply, Royal Flying Doctors top again
Michelle Herbison, Marketing

Royal Flying Doctor Service remains Australia’s charity with the best reputation, coming in at number one on the Charity Reputation Index for the fourth year in a row. But research consultants AMR have found this year overall raw scores used to rank the reputations of Australia’s top 40 charities have dropped.


Australia’s charity reputation in decline; annual research report
AMR, media release

AMR’s Managing Director Oliver Freedman said the raw scores used to measure and rank Charity reputation indicate that the entire sector has suffered a decline in trust in the eyes of Australians.

“The fact that we’ve seen a drop in the reputation scores that determine overall rankings across the sector demonstrates that Australians are feeling less of an emotional attachment to our charities than ever before,” he said.

"It also shows that Australians have less faith in financial management, leadership and the sector’s ability to deal with reputational damage."


Competitive Positioning: Why Knowing Your Competition Is Essential to Social Impact Success
Peter Frumpkin and Suzi Sosa, Nonprofit Quarterly

Entrepreneurship is rooted in the entrepreneur’s identifying, seizing, and aggressively taking advantage of an opportunity—and innovation is often at the core of this response. The opportunities for social innovation are abundant and the range is vast: even in market sectors in which there are many established providers, social impact leaders are often able to uncover previously unimagined opportunities and disrupt long-standing equilibriums—whether with a new product or service, or with an adaptation of an existing product or service (via identification of, for example, a new geography, customer, or delivery mechanism). And for social impact leaders assessing the quantity and quality of opportunities, the first step is to understand the market in which they wish to innovate.


Run A Nonprofit Like A Startup To Move Fast And Help Things
Ryan Seashore, Tech Crunch

The nonprofit model is broken.

Unless you’re part of a unicorn nonprofit like Charity: Water then your organization likely has too much overhead, too much bureaucracy, and a lack of focus on impact. Everything feels slow.

But things are beginning to change. Technology, new organizational frameworks, and alternatives to traditional fundraising are allowing new and early-stage nonprofits to consider adopting models more similar to a for-profit startup. The ways of the startup are being taken up by nonprofits — except that we’re not so much about moving fast and breaking things, as we are moving fast and helping them.


Doctors to demonstrate in protest at 'plan B' proposed Medicare changes
Lenore Taylor, The Guardian

Doctors are planning public demonstrations over the Abbott government’s proposed Medicare changes as they ramp up a lobbying campaign against a policy they claim is the greatest threat to general practice in a decade.

The Australian Medical Association’s president, Brian Owler, told Guardian Australia doctors were planning public rallies in Sydney, Brisbane and possibly Canberra in early February to demonstrate their “extreme unhappiness” with the government’s health “plan B” unveiled shortly before Christmas.


Means testing free hospital care will make medicare sustainable
Jeremy Sammut, The Australian

Converting the private health insurance subsidy into a private hospital subsidy, as Stephen Duckett suggested on this page yesterday, is only half the solution to funding healthcare.

Unless a means test is employed, and so long as Medicare offers ‘‘free and universal’’ public hospital care paid for by taxes, consumers have scant incentive to take out private health cover regardless of the subsidy available for private hospital care. This is the chief lesson of the last half-century of health policy.


Climate change isn't just a Leftist cause
Dale Hughes, The Drum

The climate debate has unfortunately descended into an ideological battle of Left versus Right, with parties of the Left taking ownership of the moral necessity for climate action. Yet this is an issue that should never have been framed in ideological terms, since history will be harsh judges on those who refused to accept the scientific consensus that something must be done to preserve the planet. Just yesterday the Bureau of Meteorology confirmed that Australia experienced its third warmest year on record in 2014.


Tracing the Roots of Pope Francis’s Climate Plans for 2015
Andrew Revkin, The New York Times

One of the highlights of my year, perhaps my career, was being able to participate in “Sustainable Humanity, Sustainable Nature: Our Responsibility,” a four-day Vatican workshop aimed at shaping strategies for human advancement that are attuned to the planet’s limits, organized by the Pontifical Academy of Sciences and Academy of Social Sciences last May.

Now there are signs that the themes and conclusions developed in those sessions are helping to shape Pope Francis’s planned push for serious international commitments in 2015 to curb greenhouse gases and gird communities, particularly the poorest, against climate-related hazards.


Pope Francis plants a flag in the ground on climate change
John Abraham, The Guardian

A recent news splash was made of predictions of an encyclical soon to be given by Pope Francis, the spiritual leader of the Catholic Church with its 1.2 billion members. This encyclical is expected to further solidify the Catholic Church’s strong stance on climate change and its focus on the impact to people around the globe. As examples of this tradition, the US Conference of Catholic Bishops made early and public statements about the challenge of climate change. Among other statements, in 2011, Pope Benedict XVI strongly supported international climate change action. And now, Pope Francis continues that tradition. But this soon-to-be released encyclical should properly be viewed as a continuation of strong statements he has made since ascending to the papacy.

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