The House of Welcome

Image Of Senior Woman With Caregiver In The Street.
Cardboard For Homeless

Imagine living in your car with three children with declining mental health and no income.

That’s what the Fares family (not their real name) had to do for six weeks. Their youngest child, at the time, was only 6 years old.

Due to an injury, Mr Fares was unable to work. He was receiving Status Resolution Support Services (SRSS), which provides people with temporary needs-based support while resolving their immigration status, but that ended. The Fares’ eldest son, who financially supported the family, lost his casual job during the COVID-19 pandemic.

The Fares were on bridging visas and ineligible for Government support, which resulted in four months of rent arrears. Due to a natural disaster they lost all their belongings, including their visa documents, exacerbating the situation.

The stresses of their protracted refugee status determination claim and homelessness resulted in the deterioriation of Mr Fares’ mental health.

Through the House of Welcome (HoW) Welcome Start Transitional Housing Program, the Fares family were able to transition into stable accommodation.

HoW program provided 18 months of accommodation to the family. Safe housing enabled the team to work with the family and liaise with Government departments to renew their documentation and apply for Medicare. Mr. Fares has now secured employment, allowing the family to transition in to private rental, and for the children to participate in their community.

HoW provides a vital lifeline to thousands of people seeking settlement in our community. HoW houses 95 people every night of the year and is the largest provider of housing for people seeking asylum and refugees. HoW is a program of St Francis Social Services (SFSS). SFSS provides the supports and advocacy that build the agency and dignity of each person by enabling them to achieve wellbeing and independence and to thrive into the future.

Due to funding cuts, around 80% of HoW clients will no longer receive emergency financial assistance. This will leave many clients with no access to a safety net for rental or tenancy, or crisis accommodation support, including single mothers.

Some facts:

  • 122,494 people in Australia are experiencing homelessness on any given night (ABS Census 2021)
  • 1 in 7 people experiencing homelessness are children under 12 (ABS Census 2021)
  • 1 in 4 people experiencing homelessness are children and young people (ABS Census 2021)
  • 1 in 5 people experiencing homelessness are Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people (ABS Census 2021)
  • Majority of homeless people are in crisis accommodation, rooming houses, insecure housing, overcrowded dwellings, or couch surfing.

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