CatholicCare, in a collaborative partnership with government and non-government organisations, has developed a housing project which targets youth aged 12-25 who are homeless, or at risk of being homeless, through the “This Way Home” Project.
“This Way Home” is a joint effort between CatholicCare and its project partners: Samaritans, Salvation Army, Mission Australia, Nova Women’s Accommodation and Support Service, NSW Family & Community Services, Compass Housing and Baptist Community Services.
The project provides medium-term and temporary accommodation for people in the Newcastle area. It aims to link them with appropriate services to support them in sustaining their accommodation and developing the skills to obtain and maintain long-term tenancy in the private or public housing sector.
CatholicCare has shown initiative in addressing a key priority that the government has identified in the “Going Home Staying Home” state housing reform – young Dads or single Dads seeking housing for themselves and their children.
Being a project partner of the “This Way Home” Project has meant that CatholicCare has been able to capitalise on the project’s already established good relationships and effective management process. It has enabled CatholicCare to add an additional housing service to the existing “This Way Home” project, The Carrington Project for Young Dads.
CatholicCare Social Services Hunter Manning has been involved in housing and supported housing projects for over twenty years, offering advice and support to homeless people, and has recognised the gap in social services aimed specifically at housing young Dads with children.
“Single Dads, in particular young Dads, are really hard to support and house because there are no programs out there for them,” says CatholicCare Operations Manager for Community Support, Lou Rak.
“Where there might be a service engaged with working with young people, there are no services that work directly with young Dads.”
The Carrington property that has been developed for accommodating young Dads and their children will help these young men continue to be, or become, good Dads through teaching them living skills and giving them the opportunity to receive a rental reference and rental history which will assist them in moving into the private rental market in the future.
CatholicCare located the suitable diocese-owned Carrington site and negotiated with the Maitland-Newcastle Central Clergy Fund to have the head lease of the site; however the existing partners of the project will also have access to the housing site should they refer a client needing support.
The Carrington site has been converted into four units which will house four Dads and their children at a time. They each have separate units but will share a common living area which will be used for fun and learning activities with their children as well as a shared kitchen space.
The Carrington Project for Young Dads, which will be launched in August, is the first managed program of its type in the state and allows the CatholicCare Social Services team to reach out and support young men in helping them become good fathers.
The specialised site for young Dads under 25 will further extend the collaborative partnership between the existing government and non-government project partners involved in the “This Way Home Project”.