Albany refuge upgrades to provide shelter for youth in crisis
Young people sleeping in swags outside the Great Southern’s only youth refuge will be protected from the weather after the service secured funding for upgrades to its Albany facility.
Albany Youth Support Association will install a new patio and cafe blinds on the veranda of its Young House youth refuge after receiving about $7000 from the not-for-profit Foundation for Rural and Regional Renewal this month.
The organisation’s Young House refuge is open 24/7 to youth aged 15-25 facing homelessness and other challenges.
Last year, 50 young people found safety at Young House.
It is a place where they can have a meal, a shower and a rest, and access support from youth workers.
With the refuge always at capacity and a waitlist of up to 12 people year-round, young people in crisis are offered swags to sleep on the veranda when the eight crisis beds are full.
The upgrades will seal the outdoor space and keep the area dry and secure.
AYSA residential services manager Kiri Floyd said the upgrades were part of plans to make the refuge more secure, with the team hoping to secure more funding for an electric gate.
“It allows an opportunity for youth workers to engage...and help direct them to other services,” she said.
“They might need medical, financial, counselling or mental health services so we try to do that.
“It is really trying to intervene before something really drastic happens and to let them know that we are here.
“If they are OK to come in the house, we will let them come in and have a shower and we will provide food as well.”
Ms Floyd said domestic violence was the biggest factor driving young people to the refuge.
“One-hundred per cent of the young girls that have come to Young House in the past year have been influenced by family and domestic violence, and 88 per cent of the males have been impacted by family and domestic violence,” she said.
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