Vinnies opens new purpose-renovated Passages hub in Perth

Passages Service coordinator Niamh Kiely in the new facility. Picture: Andrew Ritchie www.communitypix.com.au   d488576
Passages Service coordinator Niamh Kiely in the new facility. Picture: Andrew Ritchie www.communitypix.com.au d488576

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 purpose renovated over two years, was officially opened today and includes open plan living spaces, more meetings rooms and modern shower facilities.

The extra space means Homeless Health Care can set up in the bigger meeting room every Monday, complementing other services such as Street Connect, Street Law, Financial Counselling and Job Hive.

One of the new meeting rooms

Passages hubs are a joint venture between Vinnies WA and the Rotary Club of Perth offering young homeless people aged between 12 and 25 basic needs like food, shower and clothes washing facilities as well as access to support services.

Service coordinator 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’,” the social worker 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.

“We don’t close the door on them.”

The Passages computer room

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 like Vinnies could seek more support from the Department for Child Protection and Family Support.

Children in State care are largely left to fend for themselves once they turn 18, making them our most vulnerable young people.
Community News is supporting Home Stretch, a national campaign urging all state governments to change legislation to support them until they are 21.
Here’s how YOU can help:
1. Join the Home Stretch campaign at: thehomestretch.org.au
2. Sign up to be a foster carer at: www.dcp.wa.gov.au