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What are Psychiatric Hostels?

The Hospitals and Health Services Act 1927 defines Private Psychiatric Hostels to mean:

"private premises in which 3 or more persons who –

  • are socially dependent because of mental illness; and
  • are not members of the family of the proprietor of the premises,

reside and are treated or cared for”.

That Act further defines "mental illness" as having the same meaning as in the Mental Health Act 1996 (not the Mental Health Act 2014).

Hostels which meet the definition must be licensed. The licensing is conducted by the Licensing and Accreditation Regulatory Unit (LARU) in the Department of Health.

Psychiatric hostels receive funding from the Mental Health Commission though the amount of funding received varies on the type of hostel. The types of psychiatric hostels include those managed by private for-profit licensees, community supported residential units (CSRUs), Community Options housing and sub-acute services, where the building is provided by the Government and the facility is managed by a non-government not-for-profit organisation (NGOs), and other hostels owned and run by NGOs.