PIF House Toongabbie takes shape
July 2019 NSW
Article from the Daily Telegraph 9 July 2019 by Joanne Vella.
Old Toongabbie: Mirvac and Property Industry Foundation donate house
At Old Toongabbie, a six-bedroom house for traumatised youth is under construction, and Marist 180 spokesman Filipe Gama e Silva knows from similar houses it operates, the bricks and mortar will be a haven of security and hope.
“The pride the kids have in the house is really amazing,’’ Mr Gama e Silva said.
“They really see it as their house. They really understand it’s their responsibility to maintain. “It’s interesting that providing something that’s so fresh and new … that sense of place to belong is critical in any of their recovery, for lack of a better word.”
Mirvac and the Property Industry Foundation have donated labour and materials for the house in an effort to dent homelessness.
Mirvac has received contributions from 50 companies and hopes about 70 per cent of the $600,000 construction cost will be delivered for free. When the group moves in before Christmas, residents will be under the care of a supervisor and mentorship of Marist180 staff.
Classed as a semi-independent “step-down house” Marist180 staff provide support to guide young occupants to independence. This includes grocery shopping, helping them to study or find employment, and other steps that Mr Gama e Silva said allows them to take accountability for their own life.
“When they leave, they can be independent and they can take up their own lease,’’ he said. Ultimately, the accommodation is to provide security.
“Young people living in that house, for one reason or another, can’t stay with their parents or guardian or foster parents,’’ Mr Gama e Silva said.
“That comes down to them experiencing significant amount of trauma.
“People that they should have been able to trust have let them down. When you go through those challenges in life and get this opportunity of a wonderful home, and get trusted with responsibility of your own home and looking after it, it’s amazing.”
Premier Gladys Berejiklian has pledged to halve the number of homeless people on NSW’s streets by 2025 and committed $1 billion in homelessness services over the next four years.
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