Nicolas and Cath at the Merri Community Health Services dental clinic, Brunswick

RDNS Homeless Person's Program youth nurse, Cath Flanagan, is the Community Oral Health Champion for 2015.

In July this year we featured a story, Nick is all smiles about his future, on Cath helping Nick access dental and other medical care. This Public Oral Health Award from Dental Health Services Victoria (DHSV) recognises Cath's initiative and dedication to ensuring that Nick and other homeless young people can get free, priority dental care to help them get their lives back on track without also having to deal with severe pain.

Cath has been instrumental in building a bridge of care between the dental service of Merri Community Health Services (MCHS - now known as Merri Health) and the Royal District Nursing Service (RDNS).


Cath explored how the MCHS dental team engaged with homeless clients, educating the team regarding the barriers many clients experience when seeking health care. Cath's commitment resulted in offering a more flexible service which focused on the client rather than the dentistry.

“Homeless people experience many barriers in accessing support, including the lack of a home address impacting on access to the health system and low self-esteem, as many feel they are being judged or will be denied care,” Cath said.

-- Page 3, Oral Health for Better Health, DHSV magazine

As Hope Street's RDNS "super nurse", we are certainly aware of and appreciate Cath's hard work with homeless young persons and her outstanding commitment to their health care. We congratulate Cath on her achievements and support her continuing advocacy for links between other local health service providers for at risk people in the community.

Read the full article

Image source: Nicolas and Cath at the Merri Community Health Services dental clinic, Brunswick - Oral Health for Better Health, page 3

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Hope to Home in Whittlesea

FEATURED PILOT PROGRAM: Hope to Home in Whittlesea

Many young people face obstacles when trying to secure stable accommodation due to no rental history, lack of affordable housing, and no employment to sustain rental leases.  The Hope to Home in Whittlesea pilot program will address these issues by:

  • Facilitating the transition of up to 30 young people (and their children) from the Hope Street in Whittlesea program or Whittlesea Housing into 1 and 2 bedroom units
  • Providing case management once they secure private rental of these units
  • Helping these young people maintain their tenancy, employment, education and training, and community connections
  • Engaging the support of community stakeholders including local businesses to address barriers contributing to youth homelessness

Please contact us if you would like to become a partner and support at risk young people and young families.

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