Push for Government to fund youth homeless service at Albany’s Norman House

Shannon SmithAlbany Advertiser
Ricky Burges and, above, Norman House on Stirling Terrace.
Camera IconRicky Burges and, above, Norman House on Stirling Terrace.

Albany Youth Support Association has urged the McGowan Government to commit to funding a new youth homeless service at Norman House in Albany as an election promise.

New AYSA CEO Ricky Burges said she believed the Norman House youth homeless centre would fill a critical gap in youth crisis support in the region.

Since 2019, AYSA has been collaborating with owners of the building, Advance Housing, to build a business proposal to show the State Government the service is desperately needed.

Albany Youth Support Association cheif executive Ricky Burges.
Camera IconAlbany Youth Support Association cheif executive Ricky Burges. Credit: Supplied

Ms Burges said there were young people who had stayed the limit at AYSA’s Young House and needed to move on.

“Youth have an opportunity at Young House for about three months, then they really need to to see if they can get rental accommodation, which is extremely difficult,” she said.

“The youth accommodation that Advance Housing has done in Stirling Terrace — that is really valuable for those who have grown and developed a bit more.

“But there is this gap in the middle that Norman House would fill.”

Norman House was built in 1852 and was most recently a guesthouse before it was bought by Advance Housing. Ms Burges said the refurbishment would cost an estimated $1.2 million, with the service component requiring an extra $800,000.

“We had a good meeting with Regional Development Minister Alannah MacTiernan ... she suggested that we would be better to just push the refurbishment of that property first,” she said.

With demand for rentals through the roof, she said the service was urgently needed.

“There is just no rental accommodation for young people and they are desperate,” she said.

“People who do have rental properties don’t want to take a chance with a couple of 17-year-olds. These young folk either sleep in their car, on the street or couch surf until people turf them out.”

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