Media Release by The Hon Mark Butler MP and The Hon Melissa Parke MP

NT project wins Homelessness Award

Joint Media Release with:

  • The Hon Mark Butler MP
    Minister for Mental Health and Ageing
    Minister for Housing and Homelessness
    Minister for Social Inclusion
    Minister Assisting the Prime Minister on Mental Health Reform

  • The Hon Melissa Parke MP
    Parliamentary Secretary for Homelessness and Social Housing
    Parliamentary Secretary for Mental Health

Larrakia Nation’s Watch House in Darwin, was today awarded a National Homelessness Services Achievement Award in recognition of its tireless work to prevent and tackle homelessness.

Minister for Housing and Homelessness, Mark Butler and Parliamentary Secretary for Homelessness and Social Housing, Melissa Parke today presented Larrakia Nation Aboriginal Corporation the award for Excellence in addressing Indigenous homelessness for its Watch House-Pick Up and Case Management project.

“The Watch House project stood out for its efforts to help Aboriginal men struggling with alcohol and substance misuse,” Mr Butler said.

“I applaud the Larrakia Nation Aboriginal Corporation for this innovative project, which aims to divert vulnerable people away from alcohol.

“A bus picks up clients from the police watch house every morning at 6am, and takes them to either a safe location of their choice, a shelter, or to Larrakia’s halfway house.

“Breakfast is provided, along with a shower, laundry and first aid, with all supplies generously donated by the Baptist Church Foodbank.

“The Watch House provides referrals to a range of support services dealing with Centrelink, medical and legal issues, as well as educational and social activities throughout the day.

Mr Butler said while some men just need a little help to get back on track, others need deeper support and become residents in its halfway house.

“Clients can also get training to repair furniture and whitegoods, and become part of the ‘Fix-’em-up Crew’, doing repairs and maintenance for family and friends in public housing.

“With about 700 pick-ups per year and 49 people receiving ongoing support, this program is helping to develop important skills and build self-esteem, physical and emotional wellbeing.

Ms Parke said that homelessness disproportionately affects Indigenous Australians.

“The 2011 Census indicated that Indigenous Australians represented around a quarter of people who were homeless on census night,” Ms Parke said.

“Thanks to Larrakia Nation Aboriginal Corporation, Aboriginal people in Darwin can get the help they need to break the cycle of alcohol and substance misuse, and rebuild their lives.

“This Government has made tackling homelessness a national priority, and is committed to halving the overall rate of homelessness by 2020.

“But we are not doing it alone-every day, thousands of services are on the ground helping people get back on their feet.

“This year’s Awards shine a light on the tremendous work these compassionate and dedicated service providers do for some of our community’s most vulnerable people.

“Thank you to everyone who nominated a service or organisation in the 2013 National Homelessness Services Achievement Awards.

“Congratulations to the Larrakia Nation Aboriginal Corporation for receiving this well-deserved Award for their Watch House-Pick Up and Case Management project.”

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