Public Trustee and the Public Guardian helping to keep Tasmanians in safe, secure housing

Homelessness Week 2023 will take place from Monday August 7 to Sunday August 13, the Public Trustee and Public Guardian are committed to helping keep Tasmanians in safe, secure housing.

The Public Trustee and the Public Guardian both operate under the Guardianship and Administration Act 1995 with the Public Trustee supporting people to manage their finances and the Public Guardian helping people to make medical and lifestyle decisions.

Public Trustee CEO, Todd Kennedy, said while each organisation has a different role to play, together they help ensure extremely vulnerable Tasmanians have safe and secure housing.

“When a person is placed under an administration or guardianship order and the Public Trustee or Public Guardian is appointed, they are often very vulnerable and need support to make decisions about where to live, what support services they receive or managing their money and belongings,” Mr Kennedy said. 

“For example, we’ve previously helped someone who had compulsive hoarding issues and was at risk of losing their rental property.  By helping them get the support they needed, including cleaning up the property, we helped them stay in their home and maintain their independence. 

“Wherever possible we support people to become capable of managing their own finances and build their capacity to make their own decisions.”

Public Guardian, Angela McCrossen, said the Office of the Public Guardian has a critical role in promoting and protecting the rights of people with impaired decision-making ability to have equal access to housing and accommodation.  

“The Public Guardian has a role in advocating on behalf of people with a disability and to foster and support housing and accommodation services to meet the needs of the people we represent,” Ms McCrossen said.

“When appointed by the Tasmanian Civil and Administrative Tribunal as guardian and decision-maker, we may have specific powers granted to make decisions about where a person lives and what services they receive.  In those circumstances we work with the person to support them to make decisions”.  

“We work with key service providers to support the maintenance of stable independent living arrangements where possible, through the provision of additional supports and services. We also work with the person and their support network to identify the need for alternative accommodation that is more tailored to their individual needs, when required”. 

“For example, we have previously worked with a person who was homeless and living in their car.  Once appointed as their guardian to make decisions about where they lived, we engaged with the person to identify the accommodation support that they required and successfully supported their transition into respite accommodation through advocacy and referrals.  This person has since transitioned into longer term accommodation and is thriving within their new supported living environment”.

Mr Kennedy and Ms McCrossen encourage people to think about their own circumstances during Homelessness Week and plan ahead, especially through preparing a will and documents outlining their wishes regarding enduring power of attorney and enduring guardianship.

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