The Good Samaritan Sisters’ Brisbane-based supported housing program for vulnerable women and their children has recently reopened, entering a new phase in its development.
Having operated since 2002, the Transitional Housing Program as it was known, closed temporarily in July last year to allow for a period of review and strategic planning to accommodate changing circumstances in the community development sector in Queensland.
Now, after nine months of consultation and planning involving many stakeholders, Good Samaritan Housing has come to birth. It has a new governance structure and a new community co-ordinator, and soon the program will welcome a new group of families.
“Good Samaritan Housing Brisbane will focus on providing supported independent living accommodation for young mothers and their children who are homeless, or at risk of being homeless,” explained Good Samaritan Sister Bernardina Sontrop, who has worked with a small board of Directors to develop the new focus for the housing.
Bernardina said that, at any one time, the program can support four families – four single mothers with children up to four years of age – and help them to transition to independent living in permanent accommodation in the community.
The person who will lead the development and ongoing operation of the Good Samaritan Housing program is Joanne Davies, who began her new role as Community Coordinator last month.
“Joanne comes with a broad range of experience and skills in community housing, health and social welfare, supporting vulnerable adults and children in the community,” said Bernardina.
“She is passionate about breaking the cycle of homelessness for young women and children and developing individual programs to assist them in gaining the necessary skills and confidence to live independently in the community.”
For Joanne, the first month in the role has been busy but fulfilling.
“My first few weeks have been full and varied, from planning and developing the scheme, to building relationships with key services and professionals who we will work in partnership with to best support the families,” she said.
“I have thoroughly enjoyed my first month and getting to know my colleagues who have been so supportive and warmly welcomed me into the team.
“The families are at the heart of the program and I am really looking forward to welcoming our new resident families in the next few weeks.”
Joanne is hopeful that the first families will be welcomed at the end of this month or in early April.
“The families can live in the units for up to 12 months, though families may move out sooner should they secure suitable and affordable long-term accommodation”, she said.