Life-changing home support service

Rekeisha Voss.
Rekeisha Voss.

She was forced to couch surf at friends’ houses with her newborn, having lived in and out of her family’s home since she was a 15-year-old.

But determined to improve her life and that of her daughter Elyra, she sought help from youth homeless support groups and found the Foyer Oxford project.

The now 20-year-old is one of the first residents to move into the accommodation, whi-ch opened last week in Leederville, but had previously be-en running on a trial basis in Mt Lawley.

‘Foyer and support from all the agencies here has changed my life,’ Ms Voss said.

‘They showed me what my potential could be and pushed me every day to achieve that.’

Ms Voss is now studying a diploma in beauty therapy after finishing her Certificate IV last year and is making plans to move out of the accommodation.

The initiative, which is a first for WA and based on a UK model, provides housing for 98 young people, including parents and their children, while also linking them to education and employment opportunities.

Twenty-three people aged 16-25 have already moved into the four-storey apartment on the Central Institute of Technology Oxford Street campus.

The partnership between Central, Foundation Housing and Anglicare WA aims to provide accommodation for up to two years for homeless young people or those at risk of homelessness.

It has received about $35 million in government and corporate funding to build the apartments and run services.

Anglicare WA chief executive Ian Carter said it was estimated up to 6000 young people are living rough in WA.

He said wraparound services were the key to supporting the aspiring young people living at Foyer Oxford.

‘Unless you have got that stable accommodation, you can’t get on with your life,’ he said.