Program opens door to long-term housing

Uniting Doorways, a service helping homeless individuals find housing, education and access to services.

Uniting Doorways Central Coast has over 700 people pass through its doors each year.

The 12-month program aims to support people to find housing, education and access a variety of other services to empower them with usable life tools and ensure stable housing.

Approximately 8,000 people on the Central Coast are homeless – without a place they can call home.

A rental crisis in NSW means many people experiencing homelessness lack the skills, knowledge and support to help themselves out of this devastating situation.

Doorways Support Worker, Vicki Young, said the program helps homeless and at-risk people aged 16 to 90 years, many of whom have been denied vital services such as access to refuges, schooling and rehabilitation services.

Through this program, Young has provided housing, advocacy and life skills support to a client named Bianca, who has had a long history of homelessness, starting at 16 years of age.

Young was able to find Bianca emergency accommodation through the Doorways Program, along with psychiatric support, legal representation, health and wellbeing programs and teach her how to build a rental application to form the foundation of her rental history.

To Young this is just another day in the office, but to people like Bianca it is empowering them to achieve independence closer to the end goal of long-term housing, a feat that Young is happy to see many of her clients reach.

“At Doorways we do everything we can to help people who ask for assistance at vulnerable points in their lives.

“In just two months working with Bianca, we’ve already seen outstanding results through mending relationships with her family and being able to place her in housing she wouldn’t otherwise have had,” Young said.

Young is excited to be working with Bianca and the greater Central Coast community to help people lift themselves out of a situation that no one is truly prepared for.

“There are so many barriers and hoops that people have to jump through, things that people just wouldn’t know.

“The best part about Doorways is the advocacy for the clients.

“We try and provide access to many of the supports that they have lost in their lives, exhausting every single avenue to help people who come through our doors.

“Homelessness can strike anyone.

“We are all just one or two major events from finding ourselves without a home,” Young said.

Bianca is just one of many types of people who walk through the doors at Doorways, that one of four caseworkers on the Central Coast work with daily.

From July 2020 to June 2021, Uniting Doorways assisted 771 clients find housing and education, and access to services on the Coast.

Young said that homeless services like Doorways are always accepting donations, and there are things that the community can do to make a difference to people like Bianca.

“Things like the travel Opal cards, gift cards and mobile phones can make an innumerable difference.

“They help our clients stay connected with people and us, their caseworkers, they also provide them with travel options helping them visit critical appointments in the area,” Young said.

Coasties looking to help homeless individuals can sign a petition called Everybody’s Home, which is calling on the government to bring balance back to the Australian housing system.

Media release, Aug 5