Easing the passage
PASSAGES Youth Engagement Hub will be able to connect homeless youth to more services and welcome more clients through the doors of a new facility in Perth.
The new hub on Edward Street, which was renovated over two years, was officially opened this month.
It includes open plan living spaces, more meeting rooms and modern shower facilities.
The extra space means Homeless Health Care can set up in a bigger meeting room every Monday, complementing other services such as Street Connect, Street Law, Financial Counselling and Job Hive.
Passages hubs are a joint venture between Vinnies WA and the Rotary Club of Perth that offer young homeless people aged between 12 and 25 basic needs such as food, shower and clothes washing facilities, as well as access to support services.
Service co-ordinator Niamh Kiely said the first client through the doors on October 29 was brought to tears.
“She’s a long-time client and was in tears and said ‘is this all for us?’,” Ms Kiely said.
Ms Kiely is one of four full-time social workers at the hub and a fifth will soon join the team part-time.
She said staff members could work with four clients at a time so the extra resource meant Passages could support more young people at the new facility.
“People come and go, they do well with us but then something happens and they need support again,” she said.
“We don’t close the door on them.”
Vinnies is among many service providers supporting the national Home Stretch campaign that is encouraging state governments to support young people in State care to the age of 21.
Ms Kiely said more than 30 per cent of Passages clients had come from State care.
She said increasing the age meant organisations such as Vinnies could seek more support from the Department for Child Protection and Family Support.
Services co-ordinator Niamh Kiely in the new Passages facility.