A partnership between Homelessness NSW,
Domestic Violence NSW and Yfoundations

Organisation - Coast Shelter

Excellence in Ending Homelessness - Young People Nominee

Organisation - Coast Shelter

Please give your reasons for nominating this organisation.

Coast Shelter provides a suite of supported accommodation options with holistic case management to over 5oo young people on the Central Coast in any one year. We have established a continuum of care model of supported housing with the client placed firmly at the centre, providing the wrap around support services they require. The suite of housing opportunities are the 5 x Youth Refuges, 20 x supported transitional units and 10 Rent Choice private rental options, this program is growing.

Through the relationships developed over time we build our young peoples’ confidence, trust and life skills competencies, challenging their negative view of self, world and others. Their attitudes and behaviours are keeping the young person separate from others, isolated, confused and anxious. The provision of care overtime breaks down these attitudes and associated behaviours, as their confidence and healthy relationships grow, those behaviours start to diminish as these barriers are no longer required.

Coast Shelter understands the importance of living skills programs and creating a positive connection between the young person and learning. We partner with many organisations across employment education and training, co designing courses that fit with our continuum of care model. Many of our young people have had a fractured and negative experience with mainstream education, we aim to provide programs and courses that are fun but challenging where they can experience success, increasing their health and well-being and motivation to learn.

This model allows time for the young person to truly engage and gain a sense of belonging through the relationships formed. This time allows them to mature, increasing their personal agency over their lives and heading them on a pathway to realising their full potential. This trauma informed model provides the young people with a great sense of safety and security and highlights their personal growth and self-awareness. As support workers we are able to recognise their strengths and build on those by providing the right supports at the appropriate time to maximise their growth towards sustainable independence as young adults.

What outcomes were delivered as a result of this organisation?

Coast Shelter’s model delivers programs such as living skills, love bites, shark cage to facilitate young peoples’ personal development. We then explore alternative pathways for re-entry into education and training and/or employment. We understand that change and motivation to change can only be achieved when the young persons’ need for safety is truly addressed and competent trauma informed, strength based, caring adults are in relationship with them.
Outcomes achieved have been:
• Improved levels of health and wellbeing.
• Increased self-awareness and social self esteem
• Increased participation by young people in mainstream education systems.
• Increased re-entry into alternate flexible education and training projects.
• Increased retention rates in education.
• Improved abilities to undertake job seeking.
• Increased participation in the labour market.
• Decreasing representation of young people at accident and emergency
• Decreasing numbers of young people at the emergency adult mental health services
• Decreasing number of incidents of self harming and severity of presenting condition
• Decreasing drug and alcohol and gambling behaviours
• Increasing numbers of young people referred into transitional housing and rent choice
• An example of this is a 16 year old enters the Refuge and may receive care for up to 3- 6 months, then they can be referred to our supported Transitional Units stabilising their case plans for another 12 to 18 months and then referred into our Rent Choice, Life Ready program and receive further support through their case management for up to 3 years.
Coast Shelter emphasises young people being equipped with those life skills competencies and qualifications in employment, education and training to access opportunities that frees them from the social welfare system providing the practical means to sustainable early successful adulthoods.

Reference statement:

Brett Collins, Manager Casework ISS, FACS

I have worked with Coast Shelter for over 5 years in my role as MCW for ISS and Adolescent Child Protection Team. In this time we have shared many success stories and positive outcomes for young people where FaCS and Coast Shelter have a common interest. I would note the following as key qualities demonstrated consistently that provide a space for young people to achieve success.

1. Coast Shelter provides refuges that have a homely environment. The refuges are always clean, free from damage and equipped with quality furnishings. They provide and environment that feels safe to a young person who is unable to reside in the family home.
2. Coast Shelter has consistent management and staffing who are skilled in understanding the experiences of the young people that they work with.
3. Coast Shelter are able to use their networks of refuges to accommodate the needs of the young people they are committed to caring for to ensure that the young person can have an option of staying within their community or a better matched to a group of young people enlacing the young person chances of a better outcome.
4. Coast Shelter are able to use resources within their agency or across the community to ensure the young people they work with have the opportunity to transition to better situation. Importantly within this age group they have been able to demonstrate their ability to prepare adolescent for independent living and use transitional properties to further develop their skills.
5. Most importantly Coast Shelter are prepared to work with Community Services when required to provide support to some of our most disengaged and vulnerable young people on the Central Coast. Frequently these young people have limited social skills, living skills and find it difficult to engage in any type of structured routine. Coast Shelter have demonstrated a commitment to work with the young people at the level they are at and show the flexibility to allow them to fit into their programs. They have proven they have the programs, skill and commitment to work with such young people and successfully exit them in stable long term living options.