Each year Homelessness Australia hosts homelessness week, with homelessness services and community groups holding events to educate the community and advocate for change via national and local community events, media and social media activities.

The theme for Homelessness Week 2023 was “It’s time to end homelessness”.

Thank you to our Community Partner, Jesuit Social Services (JSS) for inviting us to attend their Homelessness Week 2023 event.

Experiencing Jesuit Social Services CEO, Julie Edwards discussing homelessness and housing solutions with the organisation’s General Manager, Housing and Complex Needs, Leanne Acreman and Danni De Kretser, Deputy CEO of Homes Victoria was hugely sobering, informative and inspiring.

It’s clear that Victoria is facing a desperate situation of housing shortages and homelessness and it’s critical that individuals, organisations and state and federal Government bodies come together and do what we can to help end homelessness.

SEMZ has worked extensively alongside Jesuit Social Services over the past two years. In collaboration with JCB Architects, Ratio Consultants (Planning) and Modscape Modular Homes, we developed and reviewed a series of potential redevelopment options for the organisation, to explore and propose the most appropriate site redevelopment option for Perry House – a 24-hour supported accommodation program in Reservoir for young people with intellectual disabilities, involved with youth justice and/or correctional services.  Perry House is the only service of its kind in Victoria.

In Q3 2022, after working with Jesuit Social Services for a number of months to prepare and submit a grant application to Homes Victoria, we were thrilled to receive approval for over $4M funding from the Homes Victoria Youth Housing Capital Grants Program to bring plans to fruition.

Perry House currently supports four young people who are at risk of re-offending and require assistance to develop essential independent living skills, providing safe accommodation, support and rehabilitation for up to 24 months.

The Homes Victoria Youth Housing Capital Grants Program funding will be utilised for the demolition of the existing four room Perry House dwelling in Reservoir VIC, and the construction of a new double-storey modular building incorporating 12 self-contained rooms. The new facility will also include two overnight separate staff quarters (with ensuites).

Working with Modscape, the use of modular design and construction methodology will dramatically reduce the operation downtime for Perry House allowing their service to continue while the new facility is fabricated off-site.   Installation on site will be completed within just 8-12weeks.

Perry House is a Specialist Forensic Disability Program offering a completely unique model of supported housing to young people aged 17–25 years living with an intellectual disability who are exiting the justice system and at risk of homelessness. They work with some of the most disadvantaged members of our community, these young people face a range of incredibly complex co-occurring and interrelated issues. Through a trauma-informed lens, the program provides a home for these young people for up to 24 months to support them in implementing their NDIS plans. The outcome is a significant reduction in their risk of recidivism and homelessness, developing essential independent living skills to live autonomously in the community.

It’s been a long and detailed process working towards this outcome. With the City of Darebin recently granting planning exemption, we’re thrilled to support our community partner Jesuit Social Services alongside JCB Architects, Ratio and Modscape to redesign and construct a new building to triple the capacity for Perry House.

Our hope is that the Innovation, trial and success of these development programs leads to the expansion of these incredibly important and under represented service models across the state.