Support for clients with complex needs

The Department of Health and Human Services (the department) leads several programs that seek to support the efforts of local areas to establish innovative, localised and timely responses for individuals with complex support and coordination needs.

Complex needs service responses include the Multiple and Complex Needs Initiative (MACNI), Support for High Risk Tenancies (SfHRT) program and broader Complex Needs responses. 

Multiple and complex needs initiative

The initiative (MACNI) provides a time-limited service response for people aged 16 years of age and older who have multiple and complex needs.

Through the initiative each eligible person has a personalised care plan developed to address the person’s needs and goals. The care plan aims for stabile housing, health, wellbeing and safety, and increased social connectedness.

A care plan coordinator is appointed to support the care plan’s implementation and monitoring.

Participation in MACNI services is voluntary. A person can decide to discontinue these services at any time.

What is the aim of MACNI?

The initiative aims to provide a coordinated service response for people with multiple and complex needs:

  • To have stable housing, health, social connections and safety
  • To pursue planned and consistent therapeutic goals 
  • To provide a platform for long-term engagement in the service system.

Who is eligible?

To be supported by MACNI you have to meet the eligibility criteria set out in the Human Services (Complex Needs) Act 2009.

Participants must:

  • Be 16 years of age and older
  • Appear to have two or more of the following - mental illness, substance use, intellectual impairment or an acquired brain injury, and
  • Has exhibited violent or dangerous behaviour that caused, or is likely to cause, serious harm to himself/herself or some other person
  • Need and will benefit from coordinated care.

Anyone can make a referral to MACNI, for example:

  • Individuals for themselves
  • Family members or significant others
  • New and existing service providers working with the person.

What does it involve?

Firstly, if you are interested, talk with your worker about MACNI eligibility and whether support is relevant to you.

Then if this type of support sounds best, you or your worker can contact MACNI to have your eligibility considered.

If you are eligible, MACNI will help you to

  • Clarify your needs
  • Work with relevant services to determine how they can best support you.

The MACNI care plan is developed to describe your support needs and how the services will help you meet your goals.

A care plan coordinator will then work with your current workers to help put the care plan in place and to monitor its progress. This way of working brings together all the service providers engaged with you and ensures a coordinated service response.

Who provides MACNI support?

MACNI support is delivered by a mix of community service organisations with experience of working together to meet the needs of individuals. Services can include:

  • Aboriginal community-controlled organisations
  • Mental health services
  • Housing services
  • Drug and alcohol services
  • Disability and health services
  • Justice and correctional services.

Support for High Risk Tenancies

The Support for High Risk Tenancies (SfHRT) program provides a continuum of targeted support for people with multiple and complex needs who are at risk of losing their tenancy.

SfHRT program strengthens the service system response to public housing tenants with complex needs through the integration and coordination of services to sustain tenancies that are at risk.

Support for High Risk Tenancies (SfHRT) is a local area-based program providing a point for coordination, advocacy, brokerage and consultation to public housing teams and/or referrers.

What is the aim of SfHRT?

SfHRT aims to: 

  • stabilise housing, health, social connection and safety issues
  • provide a platform for long-term engagement in the service system
  • develop a greater understanding of the needs of high-risk tenants and service response options to promote learnings and develop good practice
  • identify gaps and service development opportunities and develop a strategic approach to address these gaps to improve service responses to tenant need.

Who is eligible?

The target group for SfHRT are predominantly public housing tenants, however services are also offered to tenants in community housing:

  • whose tenancies are at imminent risk of failure
  • who are not responding to multiple intervention attempts from housing support services or the tenancy support service provider
  • whose circumstances make it difficult for them to establish their tenancy and there are no other service options. These tenants will have complex behaviours that prevent them from engaging with support services 
  • who have complex support needs including but not limited to mental health, drug and alcohol and behavioural issues that require intensive support from a range of programs and services to assist them to maintain their tenancy.

Complex Needs service responses are not:

  • a direct client contact service
  • an emergency or crisis service
  • a housing service 
  • the Office of Housing
  • a case management service
  • able to pay client debts
  • designed to replace existing supports.

More information

Support for you: How the Multiple and Complex Needs Initiative can assist you (word).

Getting it together: A guide for individuals, carers, and services on accessing the Multiple and Complex Needs Initiative (word).

For information on MACNI, see Multiple and Complex Needs Initiative on our Providers website.

Disability and Complex Clients Practice Advice and Support

West Division

  • Ballarat - 03 5333 6530
  • Footscray- 03 9275 7222
  • Sunshine - 03 9229 4100
  • Geelong - 03 5226 4540
  • Warrnambool -  03 5561 9444

North Division

  • Bendigo - 03 5434 5555
  • Fitzroy - 03 9412 5330
  • Mildura - 03 5022 3111

East Division

  • Box Hill - 03 9843 6000
  • Wangaratta - 03 5722 0555
  • Ringwood - 03 9871 5199
  • Shepparton - 03 5832 1500

South Division

  • Dandenong - 03 8765 7575
  • Frankston - 03 9784 3100
  • Warragul - 03 5624 0600
  • Sale  - 03 5144 9100