MYC National Homelessness Services Achievement Awards finalist

15/03/2012

Specialist youth welfare organisation Marist Youth Care, which provides a wide range of services to more than 1,200 at risk young people and their families each year, has been nominated as a finalist in the inaugural National Homelessness Services Achievement Awards.

Winners will be announced at an awards ceremony to be attended by the Prime Minister and the new Minister for Housing and Homelessness, Brendan O’Connor at Parliament House, Canberra on Thursday 22 March.

Marist Youth Care’s innovative Social Enterprise Project, Affordable Housing for Life (AHFL), has been recognised in the Award Category "Excellence in Supporting Pathways to Employment or Education."

The AHFL Project is unique in Australia in that it provides both employment and training opportunities for homeless and at risk young people by involving them in building homes that they may live in and, as a result, the project delivers safe and affordable social housing, on-the-job training and paid employment.

Participants learn valuable life skills to enable them to break away from social dependency into employment - such as transport logistics, communication, conflict resolution, money and time management.

"I feel good, I go home every day with a smile on my face, because I know every day I am learning something new and I am getting better at what I already have been learning."

(AHFL Participant, Macquarie University Social Impact Assessment, 2011)

First established in Western Sydney in 2010, where youth unemployment and homelessness are at chronic levels, the AHFL Project has achieved a 67 per cent overall employment success rate, completed construction of four large residential dwellings and has planned commencement dates for 10 new dwellings.

In recognition of the project’s practical solution to addressing homelessness and unemployment, the model has approval to expand nationally into Tasmania and Western Australia during 2012.

"These young people are being given the tools and ability to create tangible outcomes that will make a positive effect in their lives (the AHFL house construction and ability to earn an income)," MYC CEO Cate Sydes said.

"There is a pathway out of homelessness for young people who receive the right support at the right time."

An independent judging panel selected MYC from more than 130 nominations from a diverse and inspirational range of Australian service providers that have demonstrated an outstanding commitment to supporting some of the most vulnerable members of our community, such as children and teenagers, young parents, Indigenous Australians and those who are at risk of or are homelessness.

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