Eight self-contained units in Adelaide’s north will become temporary emergency accommodation for homeless families as part of a new initiative to help find pathways into permanent housing.

Peppertree Place will provide an alternative for families who would otherwise be in hotel rooms, and is a partnership between the Adelaide North West Homelessness Alliance (ANWHA) and the South
Australian Housing Authority (SAHA).

Alliance Senior Manager ANWHA Orla Matthews said the accommodation would provide homeless
families with a more suitable alternative to emergency hotel accommodation.

“While some families are able to access emergency hotel accommodation, it’s really not an ideal
environment, with families large and small often living and sleeping in one room, with limited access
to cooking facilities, and limited access for pets.

“Peppertree Place will be a much better alternative for families, with our support services then able
to walk them through the entire process of finding a new, more permanent home.

“With fully equipped kitchens, renovated bathrooms, separate bedrooms and a family living area,
these units will provide a safer, more suitable environment for families while we help them to secure
longer term options.”

The units were previously part of a youth housing initiative, and have more recently been used as
offices for community services which have since relocated.

Human Services Minister, the Hon. Nat Cook MP, will officially launch the project at a special event
today.

“While so many organisations do amazing work to support those requiring crisis accommodation, we
know that families experiencing the stress of homelessness aren’t best served in motel rooms,”
Minister Cook said.

“The reasons for this are many, including the fact that space is limited, facilities are not designed for
families and crowding can increase an already highly stressful situation for parents and kids,” she
said.

“Our vulnerable families need their own space to stabilise, to enhance dignity and prepare
themselves for longer-term accommodation.

“Peppertree Place provides an opportunity to trial a residential crisis accommodation model for
families. It’s a remarkable place made possible by the State Government in partnership with the
Adelaide North-West Homelessness Alliance.”

ANWHA supports people experiencing or at risk of homelessness across Adelaide’s north-west and is
a collaboration between Aboriginal Sobriety Group, AnglicareSA, Centacare, SA Housing Authority, St
John’s Youth Services, The Salvation Army, Uniting Communities and UnitingSA.

Find out more at www.anwhahome.org.au

Over the past two years, Centacare’s Registered Training Organisation, in partnership with Mental Health Coalition of South Australia’s Lived Experience Workforce Program (LEWP), has been delivering CHC43515 Certificate IV in Mental Health Peer Work.

With the continued support of Country SA Primary Health Network (CSAPHN), Centacare in collaboration with LEWP, is now delivering the qualification in regional South Australia across the Limestone Coast, Flinders Upper North, Yorke and northern regions.

Information sessions

Learn more at upcoming online information sessions:

> January 18 – for potential learners not currently working (hosted by Mental Health Coalition of South Australia)

> January 25 – for those currently in the workforce (facilitated by Centacare)

Why study with us?

CHC43515 Certificate IV in Mental Health Peer Work is the national qualification that is required to work as a qualified Lived Experience (Peer) worker.

By offering this nationally recognised training in regional SA, we hope to address current workforce shortages that exist within the mental health, suicide prevention and disability sectors in rural and remote communities.

> Gain nationally recognised qualification

> Learn how to use your lived experience in mental health distress to support others

> Develop skills and confidence to respond to people who need support

> Become an advocate for lived experience workforce and consumers and carers accessing services

> Receive ongoing and individual support while you study

> Grow on a personal and professional level

With learner retention rates of over 80% in the last cohort, and 75% employment outcomes, we are well on our way to continue paving the path for a highly skilled and responsive peer workforce.

Centacare Day Options participants are motoring into the new year in a fresh set of wheels, thanks to the generosity of Catholic Charities.

A new van equipped with custom features was recently delivered to Kolbe Cottage at Plympton, funded by the Catholic Church’s charitable arm which has supported disability services over many years.

The van will give clients greater flexibility to get out and about as they zip between community activities.

“We are so very grateful to Catholic Charities for supporting Kolbe Cottage with a new, adapted van,” said Fiona Clough, Team Leader.   

“This gives our participants greater independence, and more choice and control when accessing activities, which is not always possible with public transport.”

Support Worker Vinh Nguyen added: ‘’Having a second vehicle in our fleet will also enable us to transport bigger client groups as Day Options continues to grow.”

Clients were quick to give the van the thumbs up when it arrived at Kolbe just in time for Christmas.

“Vroom, vroom,’’ said one long-term participant.                          

Day Options offers an activity program for adult NDIS participants. Activities are based around clients’ individual needs, interests and lifestyle choices, and are designed to help them develop the skills necessary to achieve their goals.

Recently, clients have visited Hoyts Cinemas, enjoyed ten-pin bowling, and explored the Oaklands wetlands.

Catholic Charities funded six projects across three Centacare service units in 2021-2022, including a bathroom renovation at Auricht House which will enable the Elizabeth site to provide Supported Independent Living this year.

Known for its home-like environment, Kolbe Cottage has been providing support for young people and adults with intellectual disabilities for nearly 40 years.

Christmas traditionally brings family and friends together over food, but the focus on socialising and what to eat can cause mixed feelings about our bodies.

How we experience our bodies is deeply personal and one of the most important relationships of our life.

Being kind to our bodies and to other bodies is important for our relationships, overall wellbeing and recovery.

The PACE team is today sharing body kind messages in support of the Butterfly Foundation’s ‘Summer of Kindness’ campaign.

The campaign highlights what we can do to support body kind practices during the warmer months.

  • Remember that every body is a summer body
  • Give yourself or your loved one a break – social activities can be challenging for someone with lived experience of a body image issue or eating disorder
  • Set boundaries – avoid talk about appearance, body size, shape or weight – even positive comments can be problematic for people at risk
  • Spring clean your socials – mute and unfollow people that don’t make you feel good about yourself or your body, or that don’t celebrate body diversity
  • Ditch New Year’s resolutions around changing your body, weight, or your appearance

Centacare PACE Peer Workers support people who may be experiencing an eating disorder/ disordered eating, body image concerns and/or unhelpful relationships with food.

The team can work with you to reduce isolation, nurture hope, build pathways to access the community, facilitate referrals and access to services, provide evidence-based resources, share knowledge and experience, work with clinical services and empower you to overcome barriers and challenges.

The PACE Service offers 1:1 and group support.

For more information, contact PACE on 8303 6660, complete an online referral form or download the PACE referral form. You can also use the contact form HERE.

#summerofkindness # butterflyfoundation

Family belonging and connection is a year-round theme in Unify, but it has special meaning at Christmas, writes Manager Sam Carpenter.

In the Unify team, we believe all children deserve to experience belonging within their own family – and families should live together when it is safe to do so.

In 2022, Unify worked with 37 families and 44 parents to support them in creating a safe and stable home environment for their children to return to. We are proud of what they have achieved.

Of the 61 children/young people in these families, 47 have returned to live with their parents full-time after spending time in care. Several more will spend time with their parent/s over Christmas as part of ongoing work to reconnect and reunify them.

We are proud to have played a part in these children being able to spend the season with their mum or dad in the homes they belong in.

Centacare Foster Care supported 122 children this year and has been able to successfully reunify 16 with another child on track to return to their family by Christmas.

The specialist reunification carers are recruited and assessed with reunification as the key focus from the outset.

They demonstrate a positive regard and a non-judgemental attitude towards the child’s family and go above and beyond to establish and maintain positive connections and attachments with them.

A good example is a carer who would take a mobile bath to family contact at the Department for Child Protection office, so the mother could bond with her infant twins by bathing them.

The program experiences a lot of movement and the staff are highly skilled, trained and provide intensive support.

It is therefore a real celebration and joy for carers and staff when a child can return home safely with their family, knowing they will be spending special moments, like Christmas, together.

Advent of Hope continues this week as we highlight client courage, resilience and perseverance in 2022. Today we meet Jack* who came to live at Carlow Place.

Jack* was referred to Carlow Place after being asked to leave home due to his challenging behaviour.

Initially he stayed with his grandmother, but as her health began to worsen, caring for Jack became too much.

When he arrived at Carlow Place, staff quickly identified that Jack needed intensive support to manage his behaviour and live independently.

He found even the smallest of everyday tasks difficult, which made him vulnerable to others outside of Carlow, and required one-on-one help to care for himself.

His case manager organised health assessments which revealed the impact of a brain injury, caused by childhood abuse and neglect.

Jack had long since disengaged from school but had fallen through gaps in the system which had left him without the support he needed.

Located at Elizabeth, Carlow Place provides emergency and 24-hour supported accommodation for eight young people aged 15 to 18 years who are homeless, or at risk of homelessness.

Centacare’s Outer North Youth Homelessness Service (ONYHS) worked intensively with Jack to connect him to the NDIS and create a plan. He recently secured a significant budget to help him achieve his goals.

The funding will enable Jack to have specialist accommodation and access to education and employment opportunities.

Since connecting with Carlow Place, Jack has developed a sense of hope, safety and stability, and he continues to grow in confidence.

In 2021-2022, the ONYHS supported 482 clients including 153 males.

*Not his real name.

Today we meet Jane, a young mother who sought refuge at Coolock House after fleeing an abusive relationship. Determined to create a bright future for her baby, Jane overcome a series of challenges with the help of Centacare’s Young Family Support Program.

Coolock House at Morphett Vale provides 24-hour supported accommodation for young women aged up to 25 years who are pregnant or parenting and experiencing or at risk of homelessness.

Jane came to Coolock House with her seven-month-old baby after fleeing domestic violence.

The 24-year-old had endured significant physical, emotional, and psychological abuse which continued after she left the relationship.

Jane created a home for herself and her baby at Coolock and was a nurturing mum.

She established new routines and talked about her hopes and dreams for the future.

Jane soon became a leader on site. She encouraged fellow mums on their journeys and connected to her Aboriginal culture through Sacred Little Ones parenting group.

Determined to provide for her baby, Jane got her paperwork in order, wrote her resume and began looking for employment opportunities.

She credited the stability and security of Coolock House for providing the foundation to build a new life free from abuse.

In late 2021, Jane’s former partner withheld her baby after a routine access visit.

For the next 11 weeks, Jane foughtevery waking hour to have their baby safely returned to her care. She would often spend days in the Coolock office talking through situations with staff whose support gave her a sense of hope amidst the unknown.

Jane engaged with legal Services, sought specialist domestic violence counselling through Centacare, and participated in Circle Of Security and Women are Strong groups.

Nearly three months later, she was reunited with her baby. Jane said she had never felt so happy or relieved.

She immediately recognised the impact of their separation on her child who would cry when she was out of sight. Jane worked hard to meet the baby’s needs and was awarded full custody of her child in the Family Court.

This sharpened her focus on the future even further.

Centacareconnected Jane with Rent Right SA, and with support, she secured a long-term, private rental – the first such outcome for the Coolock House team since the onset of COVID-19.

Jane’s showed remarkable persistence and determination to lay roots for herself and her child and staff could not be more proud of what she has achieved.

The team will never forget watching Jane on her journey as she grew in strength, courage and perseverance each day.

It was a privilege to walk by her side.

Merry Christmas, Jane. May the road ahead bring joy to you and your child.

Close up of happy young african American mother hug cuddle little infant or toddler, loving smiling biracial mom embrace small baby child, enjoy tender family moment, motherhood, childcare concept

Today we launch Advent of Hope, a collection of stories to highlight client courage, resilience and perseverance in 2022.

We begin with a young person who turned to Alban Place as they battled addiction, mental illness and other challenges. This is their story.

Alban Place is part of Centacare’s Integrated Youth Substance Misuse Specialist Service which provides a range of specialist supports across South Australia for young people aged 12-24 who are living with substance issues.

Before I was admitted to Alban Place, I was a complete wreck.

I had been struggling with suicidal depression, anxiety, anger issues and addiction for about 13 years.

At my point of absolute desperation, I went to Drug and Alcohol Services SA as I couldn’t get myself clean.

I had become physically dependent on alcohol – to the point of extreme withdrawal after a couple of hours – and was using all sorts of drugs daily.

I felt trapped in my addiction and was told by doctors, family and friends that I would die if I kept up my behaviour. Honestly, I was okay with that.

My counsellor seemed surprised with my level of use at first, which didn’t give me a lot of hope, but he insisted that I could get sober and told me his own journey.

This was my first introduction to fellow addicts that have gotten clean, and I started to feel less alone in my illness.

He was kind and helpful and never minded when I didn’t show up for sessions or arrived heavily intoxicated – he just wanted to help.

When I arrived at Alban Place, I was shaking, skinny and pale. I couldn’t focus and I was in a great deal of physical pain.

The staff at Alban Place were supportive and reasonable with their expectations of such a broken addict and tried their best to accommodate my stay.

My mental health was rapidly declining as I got sober. I was having outbursts of anger and rebelling against rules. Nevertheless, the staff tried to understand and comfort me in my times of anguish.

I tried to stick to their timetable and listen to their suggestions as best I could, and slowly I started to get something out of having a routine. My eating improved and my mood was becoming more stable day by day.

Being around other addicts who wanted to be sober was a new experience for me. I made some good friends and finally felt understood in my insanity.

Alban Place brought me to Narcotics Anonymous (NA) and then I asked to attend Alcoholics Anonymous (AA) too. I go to these meetings every day now and I’ve never had such a great community to support me.

Alban Place is only an eight-week program so obviously I didn’t come out “fixed”. I still have a lot of work to do on my recovery, but my stay gave me the tools and support networks to further my recovery when I left.

Going home was very challenging and I’m finding my old people, places and things to be very hard to work with or be around, although my family is very supportive.

I am 87 days sober as I’m writing this and I still have cravings and very bad days. The difference is that I can go to a meeting now or talk to someone at Alban Place. I can call someone from the meetings or do some of things they suggested to get through in the moment.

I don’t have to hide from my emotions anymore, which is dreadful sometimes but also a very freeing experience. Unprocessed grief, shame, anger and sadness sometimes sweep over me but I know now that it’s okay and normal.

Alban place isn’t a fancy hotel but it’s a comfortable place to get sober and try to learn how to stay sober, as NA and AA say: “Just for Today” I will stay sober, “Just for Today” I will be happy, “Just for Today” I will adjust myself to what IS and “Just for Today” I will strengthen my mind.

If I follow the simple yet difficult advice I’ve been given, one day at a time, I believe my life will improve one day at a time too.

Thank you Alban Place for putting up with my argumentative, angry, pessimistic self for eight weeks.

I will always be grateful for the opportunity you gave me. Much love to all the staff, I miss you!

Centacare has joined more than 150 organisations and endorsed a statement calling for a parliamentary Inquiry into a Human Rights Act for South Australia.

The statement – released to coincide with international Human Rights Day tomorrow – has been led by the South Australian Council of Social Service (SACOSS), the Rights Resource Network of South Australia (RRNSA) and Australian Lawyers for Human Rights (ALHR).

“This statement represents a powerful, unified call from an incredibly diverse range of voices who value this state’s proud record of adopting socially progressive legislation,” said Ross Womersley, Chief Executive of SACOSS.

“We believe it’s now time to consider the next chapter – a Human Rights Act that legally protects the dignity, security and interests of all South Australians.”

The Australian Capital Territory, Victoria and Queensland have already enshrined human rights in Acts of Parliament.

Sarah Moulds, RRNSA Convenor said the laws are returning dignity and power to everyday people, and helping government officials to make fair and caring decisions.

“For example, they have been used to protect women at risk of domestic violence, to ensure public housing is accessible for people with mobility issues, to prevent restrictive practises in aged care facilities, and to secure children access to education and healthcare services,” she said.

“South Australia now has an opportunity to put in place similar laws to protect the wellbeing of everyone in our state. Holding a public inquiry into a human rights law for South Australia would give everyone in our state the chance to design a law that meets the needs of our many different communities.

“It would also send a message to our children and young people that we care about their future, and we’re prepared to do the hard work to create lasting social change.”

Natalie Wade, ALHR Chair of Disability Rights said: “In the absence of a Human Rights Act, the most vulnerable people in our community live without any legislated framework to directly or completely protect their rights and freedoms.

“Human rights must drive the work of our government and its agencies, from the development of laws and policies, through to the daily decision-making by government that directly impacts our quality of life.

“Every South Australian must be able to obtain affordable, accessible solutions for justice if their human rights are breached.”

This Human Rights Day, we invite every South Australian to join the conversation and we call upon the Government to lead a community-wide conversation by establishing a public inquiry into a Human Rights Act for South Australia.

South Australians are a generous bunch.

The Christmas buzz at Centacare Seaton shows just how much, as the Children’s Services Unit (CSU) packs and wraps gifts donated by charity partners for families in need.

A dozen hampers are on their way to households engaged with Unify Family Reunification Services, thanks to the Brother Michael Hamper Appeal.  

Every Christmas, the Appeal distributes more than 200 hampers to gift across Adelaide in memory of namesake, Brother Michael Kirgan.

Br Michael drove the initiative’s rapid growth in the 1980s from the Glen Osmond Monastery, in order to reach more people doing it tough.

The hampers include a Coles voucher, mixed groceries and a present for each child in families working towards reunification with Unify’s support.

The service works intensively with families who have been separated by the child protection system due to safety concerns and supports parents to make life changes to meet their children’s needs so that they can safely return home.

Unify Manager Sam Carpenter said parents undergoing reunification often lose access to family benefits which can lead to housing stress and financial strain.

“The hampers take away a little bit of that stress because the families not only have access to food but the hope that comes with knowing they can provide for their children,’’ Sam said.

“Often the children and young people have returned to their birth family from foster placements.

“To be able to go back to where they have an emotional connection, knowing their physical needs will be met too, is a really important part of their transition home.’’

This year, 47 children and young people have been reunified, making their Christmas particularly special.

Backpacks 4 SA Kids has been supporting Centacare for many years and is this Christmas reaching out to families through RESTORE North and Kids in Focus.

From festive treats to household items, food and baby products, the donations will provide practical relief for families facing complex challenges.

Under RESTORE Intensive Family Services, families with children at imminent risk of entering care receive intensive six-month in-home and community-based support, with a focus on strengthening and restoring parental capacity.

Kids in Focus works in partnership with families for up to 18 months to minimise harm caused by parents’ substance misuse and create safe home environments.

RESTORE South will distribute presents collected by St Agnes Chiropractic Clinic.

The practice’s clients have been donating gifts for children engaged with Centacare since 2016.

More than a quarter of families involved with RESTORE South have experienced homelessness.

The service prioritises young parents (aged under 25 years), adolescents with significant trauma histories, Aboriginal families with multiple and complex needs, and families of infants at high risk.

“Since the cost of living has risen, everyone is struggling across the community, and that struggle is even more profound for adults and children who experience disadvantage,’’ said Amalie Mannik, Executive Manager – Children’s Services.

“So, to be gifted a hamper or toys for their children, the families are just so grateful.”

Centacare Foster Care will give a special keepsake donated by Orange Tree Quilters to a carer who has gone above and beyond this year, while Catholic Charities and Variety SA have combined to support the program’s Christmas party and the purchase of presents for every child.

CSU staff spent yesterday packing hampers with goods donated by Mater Christi Parish after an overwhelming donation of festive food, pantry staples and assorted gifts.

The hampers will be distributed to foster care households, and clients supported by the Next Steps program.

In partnership with Housing Choices Australia and Aboriginal Sobriety Group, Next Steps supports young people exiting care to transition to independence.

More than 70 carer households are engaged with Centacare Foster Care which provides immediate, short-term, long-term and respite care for children from birth until adulthood.

Amalie said, like other CSU services, the program usually sets funds aside for Christmas celebrations, but thanks to the outpouring of community generosity, that money could be put back into service delivery.

“What has been phenomenal this Christmas is how much community has given to those that are vulnerable across all of our services,’’ she said.

“The cost of living is impacting all South Australians yet so many have opted to give the gift of giving to help others, and that’s what is so special.”

Centacare

Meeting the Challenge

Centacare Catholic Family Services is a Catholic welfare organisation delivering a range of services across the Catholic Archdiocese of Adelaide.

Client Services

45 Wakefield Street Adelaide SA 5000
T 08 8215 6700
E enquiries@centacare.org.au

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