Today we mark the beginning of Homelessness Week. Coordinated by Homelessness Australia, this national campaign aims to raise awareness of people living homeless and the challenges they face. This week we will be highlighting the ways Centacare is supporting young people as we celebrate action and innovation across the homelessness sector.
A new transitional housing project in the north is helping young males to exit homelessness and prepare for their future.
Centacare has partnered with Hope Central at Elizabeth to redevelop two maisonettes and house four males aged 18 to 25 years.
The young people can lease the properties, owned by the church, for up to 18 months, providing they are on an independent income and engaged with a case worker through Centacare’s Outer North Youth Homelessness Service.
Executive Manager Megan Welsh says the project aims to bridge a gap in affordable housing for young males living homeless, or at risk of homelessness, whose only other option is accommodation at a city boarding house.
“Finding safe and appropriate housing for young men in that age group is a lot more difficult than it is for women who are often pregnant or parenting and therefore have more options around housing,’’ she said.
In May, the first tenants moved into the properties which each have a shared kitchen but separate lockable bedroom and living areas.
“Our hope is that they increase their independent living skills, including how to budget and maintain a home but also how to be a good neighbour,’’ Megan said.
“Most importantly it’s giving the young men a rental history. That’s part of the problem: getting a start.’’
The project has simultaneously benefitted job seekers, with Centacare’s Work Ready Training participants involved in fitting out and renovating the properties.
“It’s been a very exciting project to work on because it’s been a community effort,’’ said Wendy Brooks, Operations Pastor, Hope Central.
“We’ve never done anything like this before so to be able to work with other groups of people who had the expertise we didn’t has been amazing.’’
Tina Breen, Senior Social Worker, said there was a misconception vulnerable young males were less at risk than females.
“We know that young men are less likely to access support but are at greater risk of social isolation if they disconnect from family, friends and society.
“The longer their mental and physical health goes downhill, the less likely their chance of recovery.
“If they can’t get a motel room and don’t have the option of respite and safety supports that females do, then often they will engage in illegal activity or connect with people that are undesirable simply to access some form of accommodation.’’
Besides providing a stepping stone to longer-term housing, the Hope project is connecting young people to community, Tina says, highlighting their welcome participation in church activities, such as free Sunday breakfast.
*This week we are joining in the national campaign to highlight homelessness across Australia. Coordinated by Homelessness Australia, National Homelessness Week (August 7-13) aims to raise awareness of the experiences and challenges faced by people living out of home. The theme of this year’s week is ‘Action and Innovation‘ and we will be highlighting some of the ways we are supporting young people to stay safe, remain connected with their communities, and build their independence. Centacare provides specialist youth homelessness services, and accommodation support for women and children experiencing domestic violence, in regional and metropolitan South Australia.
#HW2017 #endhomelessness and #innovationinhomelessness