Two years ago, this plot of land in Clayton was just bare earth. Bulldozed rubble to any passerby. But there was a vision, a seed planted, for this unassuming spot to grow into a flourishing safe haven for young mums at risk of homelessness.
Despite two tumultuous years, with plenty of challenges, these industry partners kept their promise to build the home. We thank them for their unwavering dedication to ending youth homelessness. Now 4 young parents and their children will be off the street and soon moved in to this sanctuary.
This week we officially opened a new Lighthouse Mums and Bubs Home!
We celebrated the moment with PIF, Frasers and the electricians, interior decorators and many others who offered their pro-bono support to the construction process.
It was a joy to see the amazed faces of committee members of the home and especially ongoing Patron of the Young Parents Program, Vicki Vidor OAM, as they walked through the front door.
As guests at the opening set down their gifts of plants and fresh food for the fridge, they felt it – the feeling of being warmly held by this thoughtful space.
The soft woolen blankets and cushy couches are perfect for new mums getting used to that all too infamous newborn feeding schedule. In the new kitchen, young parents can cook a hearty meal to be shared together at the dining table.
Such warm, welcoming spaces allow for the integration of therapeutic practices into everyday life. Even a Thursday night dinner presents an opportunity for carers to encourage reflection, positive attachments and emotional growth for these young people.
Lighthouse CEO, Dr Eamonn McCarthy, who has 10 years of experience in child protection and has visited endless care properties, has never seen anything like this home.
“In my time I have seen the best and the worst of homes that young people reside in. Uncompromising high quality and care have informed the creation of this home from the first brick laid to the final lick of paint.” Dr McCarthy said.
“We are deeply grateful for the extraordinary collaborative efforts of PIF, Frasers Property and the over 150 people who gifted their time, materials and hearts to ensure that at risk members of the community are provided sanctuary and encircled in care.”
Kate Mills, CEO of PIF, expressed the collective power in many generous hands tending to this seedling of a house.
“When people come together in a collaboration, to make a difference for some of the most vulnerable people in our society, amazing things can happen.” said Mills.
For the young parents and their babies shortly moving into this new home, we know that what will occur will be life changing, and not just for them, but for future generations to come.
Dr McCarthy expresses that, “It’s difficult to capture the long-term benefit that a place like this has. It’s the trickle-down effect that creates exponential impact. We truly believe we can change the face of homelessness – By working together.”
Building Futures Together
When young people come under the safe roofs of these homes and the wing of the Lighthouse Model of Care, they are making a huge step in breaking the pattern of homelessness.
In a way, collaboration is at the center of what we do at Lighthouse Foundation. Together, the psych wellness team, carers, committee members, staff, partners, broader Lighthouse community and most importantly, the young people themselves are all collaborators in building bright futures.
As Dr McCarthy said at the opening of this new home,“We want the kinds of outcomes for these young people that we would want for ourselves or our own kids. Seeing this home, I would more than happily pull up to the driveway and bring my kids in each night. It’s thanks to the incredible work of PIF, who connected us to a community of skilled tradespeople, and Frasers, who took on the build wholeheartedly, that despite everything that has occurred in the past two years, this home is complete and it’s incredible.”
We can’t wait to hear how the new tenants will make this space their own. We expect to see the fridge covered in photos, chalk drawings out the front and perhaps a sticky handprint or two on those new windows. Basically, all the things that make home, well – home.