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Youth homelessness service wins major awards in WA

Youth homelessness service wins major awards in WA

Youth homelessness service wins major awards in WA

27 September 2018

Guy Rees (front) and the Crossroads West Transitional Support Team, two of whom were nominated for outstanding practice and service in their fields.

By Simone Worthing

The Salvation Army’s Crossroads West youth homelessness program won several awards at the recent Children, Youth and Families in WA awards night, held in Perth.

Crossroads West staff receiving their awards.

Crossroads West nominated four outstanding women for various awards: Trish Ruszcsynski and Tessa Mettam, both of Crossroads West Transitional Support Service, for Outstanding Practise; Natasha, Communities Case Manager, for the Child Protection Family Support Communities award; and Montana, who worked from Broome to Kununurra in the remote Kimberley region, for the Rising Star award.

“As a team we were thrilled when Natasha from Communities and Montana from Kununurra took out the award in their respective categories,” said Yvonne Hunt, Crossroads West Network Director.

“Although Trish and Tess were not award winners on the night, we celebrate their ongoing commitment to both the young people of Crossroads and The Salvation Army.”

Crossroads West

For almost 30 years, The Salvation Army’s Crossroads West has been responding to youth homelessness in Western Australia, serving young people aged from as young as 12 to early adulthood. The service is now transitioning to focus on the 15-25 age group from July 2019.

"Jenny" with keys to her new accommodation after support from Crossroads West.

In Perth, Crossroads West operates two medium to long-term premises for young people in care, with 14 places between the two homes.

“These supported homes are predominately life-skills based, and work on a model encouraging young people towards independent adulthood,” said Yvonne. “Fully qualified youth and family support workers are rostered around the clock to support the young people.”

There is also a crisis centre in Karratha, 1500km north of Perth, and Kalgoorlie, almost 600km west of the capital.

“These are short-term crisis centres, where young people can stay up to three months,” explained Yvonne. “These centres focus on rapid response work – moving the youth from crisis into something that is less of a crisis. This could include making sure they are connected with Centrelink, assisting them with their education and training, or helping them find alternative employment.”

Leaving state care

Yvonne and her team, together with other non-government organisations and the state Department of Communities, are focusing on the needs of marginalised and vulnerable young people who leave state care at the age of 18.

A baby shower for Dianne and her partner, both clients of the service.

This is primarily through Crossroads’ Transitional Support Service, led by Guy Rees.

“Most of these young people come from a very vulnerable place and have been subject to immense trauma,” said Yvonne.

“Through our transitional support service, we walk alongside the young people, help them get the referrals they need, guide them through some of the complexities of beginning the adult journey and assist them build and maintain connections.

“We work with them to establish a plan. Their time with us will depend on their needs. The young people also know that, if they get to a sticky point in their lives, they can call back and if we can’t help, we can refer to other Salvation Army services such as domestic violence, drug and alcohol rehabilitation and childcare.”

Yvonne, Guy and the team believe in the work they are doing through The Salvation Army to help create a better narrative for the lives of these young people.

“It’s a privilege to work with these young people – some of whom are the toughest of the tough, the neglected of the neglected – to be able to give them some sort of vision, hope to get up each day, and to see many of them move on to success.

“We have to make it better for these growing numbers of young people in care. We have a long way to go, and through The Salvation Army who have been caring for children for over 100 years, we will continue to do all we can to help change lives.”




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