Project at cri­sis point

Cockburn Gazette - - FRONT PAGE - Bron­wyn Dono­van

A COCK­BURN not-for-profit or­gan­i­sa­tion needs com­mu­nity sup­port to roll out WA’s first LGBTQI cri­sis ac­com­mo­da­tion.

As­sist­ing Your Life to Achieve Inc. (AYLA) has se­cured a fiveyear lease for a 2ha prop­erty that it hopes can pro­vide at risk peo­ple aged 15 to 24 a se­cure place to grow and work through the bar­ri­ers and trau­mas in their lives.

The cen­tre would ac­com­mo­date up to six res­i­dents, both LGBTQI cou­ples and sin­gles, with 24-7 se­cu­rity and sup­port.

The hos­tel would also have ac­cess to other ALYA ser­vices, in­clud­ing ther­apy and coun­selling, med­i­cal sup­port, food bank, train­ing cafe, hair­dresser and op shop.

AYLA has cre­ated a GoFundMe to raise the funds needed to cover the ren­o­va­tions at the site and as­sist in the es­tab­lish­ment of the cen­tre. The or­gan­i­sa­tion aims to raise $100,000 to start the project but has so far gath­ered only $505.

AYLA founders Scott and David John­son said the idea for the project came about af­ter com­ing back to Aus­tralia from Europe, where they got mar­ried, and be­ing baf­fled by the fact that there sim­ply were not as many re­sources or sup­port ser­vices for the LGBTQI com­mu­nity as else­where.

“There is not a cri­sis cen­tre for LGBTQI in WA,” they said.

“All of the ser­vices that are cur­rently out there at the mo­ment cater to other groups; ob­vi­ously if you fall just un­der youth then there is help, if you fall un­der the Abo­rig­i­nal cat­e­gory there is help.

“Ev­ery­thing is boxed and funded for th­ese par­tic­u­lar things and un­for­tu­nately with the LGBTQI group it is dif­fi­cult for them to find that they fit any­where.”

The pair has ap­plied to the City of Cock­burn for ap­proval to con­vert an ex­ist­ing house into a cri­sis ac­com­mo­da­tion cen­tre, which they hope to have op­er­a­tional by the end of Jan­uary.

“We do not want to make this about the equal­ity vote, which has noth­ing to do with what we are try­ing to achieve,” Scott said.

“What we want, whether you be­lieve in equal­ity or not, is to help re­duce the num­ber of sui­cides and cri­sis cases in WA.”

To sup­port AYLA’s project, go to­sis-ac­com­mo­da­tion.

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