VincentCare record $47m homelessness investment
Friday 28 June 2019
Victoria’s 25,000 people experiencing homelessness, including almost 400 rough sleepers in the city and inner suburbs, can access quicker, more comprehensive and more effective assistance, with the opening of VincentCare’s new Ozanam House, one of the most significant investments in homelessness accommodation and support ever in Australia.
The $47 million centre in North Melbourne has a homelessness resource centre that will cater for up to 250 people a day, offering health services, including Victoria’s only homelessness-specific dentist; a tech hub, where people can recharge phones and use free wi-fi and computers; café style meals; amenities such as showers, laundry and short-term storage; and support including case management and personal and financial counselling.
With 134 short-, medium- and long-term rooms and apartments specially designed to support people’s recovery from homelessness, it is Australia’s largest homelessness accommodation centre.
“Homelessness in Victoria and Australia is a serious health and social emergency, which is why we are unveiling the most comprehensive response ever seen in this country,” the CEO of VincentCare, Quinn Pawson, said.
“The new Ozanam House will transform the response to homelessness in Australia.
“This new approach will allow us to assist more people than ever before. We will support people to make lasting and sustainable changes to their lives, whether that be accessing training and education, re-connecting with family and community, improving their health or finding secure housing.”
Mr Pawson said VincentCare had spent three years participating in research studies and trials, visiting and examining every major homelessness centre internationally and around Australia and consulting leading experts before coming up with its unique Homelessness Recovery model and redeveloping its North Melbourne site.
“We know that trauma is both the cause and the effect of homelessness, so this underpins everything we do,” Mr Pawson said.
“Our high-tech single record system means that clients need tell their story only once, rather than being constantly asked to re-live family violence or other trauma when they need our help. Peer support volunteers, who have themselves experienced homelessness, provide reassurance. And because we know that recovery is about more than ‘a roof’, our dedicated case workers support people to access whatever assistance and services they want and need, when they want and need them.”
For the first time, the new centre will cater for women, as well as men. It will also provide a safe and welcoming environment for transgender and other gender and sexually diverse people.
“No matter who you are, no matter how you came to be experiencing homelessness, no matter what you need, Ozanam House will provide support without judgement,” Mr Pawson said.
Mr Pawson said the opening of the new Ozanam House was a tribute to the members of the St Vincent de Paul Society, who had supported Ozanam House since opening the original “night shelter” on the site in the 1950s.
“It is also a product of Melbourne’s compassion and resolve to do better by people experiencing homelessness, with philanthropic organisations, corporates and government coming together to support VincentCare in delivering this ambitious project.”
Mr Pawson thanked the St Vincent de Paul Society, the Victorian Government and major philanthropic and corporate backers including the Lord Mayor’s Charitable Foundation, Gandel Philanthropy, Perpetual and EnergyAustralia.
VincentCare is a leading provider of support services for people experiencing homelessness and disadvantage in Victoria.
Through our Homelessness Recovery Model, we engage those that are in crisis, or chronically homeless and surviving complex issues. We enable them to see through their issues to create goals and empower them to seek recovery, to obtain stability and to connect with community.
We do this through our dedicated staff, volunteers and those with lived experiences who believe that safe, secure and affordable housing is a basic human right, and that wrap around support services are vital for success. Our supporters in government, philanthropic and corporate organisations trust us to make a real difference to individuals and the community at large, and our success lies in our clients’ achievements.
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