VincentCare’s revamped Ozanam House will transform the response to homelessness in Australia, says chief executive Quinn Pawson. Source: Pro Bono News.
“This new approach will allow us to assist more people than ever before,” Mr Pawson said of the opening of a 10-storey, $47m accommodation centre in North Melbourne last Friday.
VincentCare is the leading provider of support services in Victoria for people experiencing homelessness, family violence, alcohol and drug issues.
“We will support people to make lasting and sustainable changes to their lives, whether that be accessing training and education, reconnecting with family and community, improving their health or finding secure housing.”
VincentCare’s revamped Ozanam House is Australia’s largest accommodation centre for rough sleepers, offering 134 rooms and apartments specially designed to support people’s recovery from homelessness.
The North Melbourne facility will cater for up to 250 people a day, offering health services – including Victoria’s only homelessness-specific dentist – a tech hub with free Wi-Fi and computers, a gym, café, library and amenities such as showers and a laundry.
Case management support and personal and financial counselling will also be provided.
Mr Pawson said VincentCare had spent three years consulting with experts and examining other major homelessness centres around the world before developing its homelessness recovery model and updating its North Melbourne site.
He said an understanding of trauma as both a cause and effect of homelessness underpinned everything VincentCare did.
“Our high-tech single record system means that clients need tell their story only once, rather than being constantly asked to re-live family violence or other trauma when they need our help,” he said.
“Peer support volunteers, who have themselves experienced homelessness, provide reassurance.
“And because we know that recovery is about more than ‘a roof’, our dedicated caseworkers support people to access whatever assistance and services they want and need, when they want and need them.”
Mr Pawson added that for the first time, Ozanam House will cater for women as well as men.
Council to Homeless Persons CEO Jenny Smith said the centre would be of great use to the estimated 25,000 Victorians currently experiencing homelessness.
Australia’s largest homelessness centre offers new approach (Pro Bono News)
VincentCare record $47m homelessness investment (VincentCare)