New homes bring fresh hope for traumatised youth

The project is helping youth in crisis gain security (Bigstock)

Four youth living in a share house might conjure scenes of non-stop parties and slobby living, but for those on the brink of homelessness it’s treated like a castle. Source: Parramatta Advertiser.

At Old Toongabbie in Sydney’s west, a six-bedroom house for traumatised youth is under construction, and Marist180 spokesman Filipe Gama e Silva knows from similar houses it operates, the bricks and mortar will be a haven of security and hope.

“ … The pride the kids have in the house is really amazing,’’ Mr Gama e Silva said.

“They really see it as their house. They really understand it’s their responsibility to maintain.

“It’s interesting that providing something that’s so fresh and new … that sense of place to belong is critical in any of their recovery, for lack of a better word.”

Marist180 is a Catholic organisation operating in the spirit of St Marcellin Champagnat, which strives for positive change in the lives of young people and their families, particularly those most at risk and on the margins of society.

Mirvac and the Property Industry Foundation have donated labour and materials for the house in an effort to dent homelessness.

Mirvac has received contributions from 50 companies and hopes about 70 per cent of the $600,000 construction cost will be delivered for free.

When the group moves in before Christmas, residents will be under the care of a supervisor and mentorship of Marist180 staff.

Classed as a semi-independent “step-down house” Marist180 staff provide support to guide young occupants to independence.

This includes grocery shopping, helping them to study or find employment, and other steps that Mr Gama e Silva said allows them to take accountability for their own life.

“When they leave, they can be independent and they can take up their own lease,’’ he said.


Old Toongabbie: Mirvac and Property Industry Foundation donate house (Parramatta Advertiser/

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