A long term service delivering long term results
The years between 13 and 18 are a significant time in a young person’s life from attending school to learning and building important social and life skills. Unfortunately, far too many young people experience trauma at home and their only option is to live on the streets.
In November I was voted onto the management committee of not for profit organisation, St Laurence House (SLH). SLH provides medium to long term housing to homeless and at risk young people between the ages of 13 and 18.
Their unique 24/7 trauma informed care program gives young people the time, space and support they need to get their lives back on track.
Throughout 2021 SLH has provided 24/7 support to children in need across five bedrooms in the house, as well as four semi-supported units for five young adults through their STAY (Supported Transitional Accommodation for Youth) Program.
The current NSW Government funding for homeless people, in particular homeless youth, has a significant gap. Funding is geared towards supporting short term accommodation shelters. There is no denying the important service the crisis accommodation shelters offer, but they are not a long term solution. SLH aims to get kids off the streets permanently and in safe homes for the long term, helping to break the cycle of homelessness and reliance on the welfare system.
As a medium to long term residential service, SLH receives only 70% of its funding from the government. Providing 24/7 care, 365 days a year, is a model that is drastically different to crisis care, and requires customised funding for the services they offer.
Every year SLH is $300,000 short of the funding it needs to survive. This means that we must raise this money every year through our fundraising activities and the kindness of donors and bequests.
The benefits of the service SLH provides gives young people an opportunity to break the welfare cycle and learn to be independent, healthy, and happy members of the community.
I can’t sit by and watch young people live on the streets because they have no other choice. It’s not acceptable.
We should be doing everything we can to support youth services like SLH, so they can do more than just survive – so they can thrive – and be in a position to help more young people.
This Christmas, please consider a donation to SLH and help give the young people a Christmas they will remember. They have the right to a safe home, and you can help give it to them.
Lucy is a member of the management committee of St Laurence House and The LKB Agency provides its services pro bono to SLH to support their communication and fundraising activities.