As the impact of COVID-19 added further complexity and risk to young people who are already vulnerable, recent grants and donations has helped Passages Youth Engagement Hubs continue to deliver its vital service.
Passages Youth Engagement Hubs receive no ongoing funding from the state government so when retail revenue and fundraising was significantly affected due to event cancellations and shop closures from the COVID crisis, new donations and grants became essential.
For Passages Perth, being able to remain open during the height of the crisis was only possible due to a very generous grant from our supporter the City of Vincent of $200,000 in May which ensured program costs were covered and staff could continue to work fulltime.
Connections to Support
Measures to reduce numbers in the facility at one time, along with stringent hygiene practices to ensure the safety of staff and young people visiting the service were introduced at both hubs. During this time, young people visiting Passages were directly affected by the crisis when support networks reduced face to face services by shifting to phone support only, or even shutting completely. Through a donation from the community based organisation Neami, mobile phones and credit were purchased so young people could stay in touch with the Passages Perth team, reducing further isolation experienced from service changes as well as maintaining their connections to support.
A large supporter of local businesses and organisations in the Peel area is Halls Head Community Bank who through their Community Sponsorship Initiatives donated to Passages Peel. These funds were put towards purchasing essential items for young people such as wellness packs, food parcels, baby items, toiletries, sleeping bags, tents, underwear and warm clothing.
Access to Basic Needs
Many young people don’t have the opportunity to access basic needs such as shower, laundry and kitchen facilities when they are experiencing homelessness, couch surfing or crisis accommodation which Passages can provide. A recent donation from Parmelia Hilton of frozen food, shampoos and conditioners were vital so this essential need could continue to be provided to young people during the lockdown period.
Social distancing had a significant impact on Passages having to reduce their cooking capacity in their kitchens and with supermarket shelves empty, access to food for young people that was normally provided in the service became a challenge. A priority was placed on access to food for young people which a donation from the Michele Canci Foundation helped achieve across both Hubs. In the early stages of COVID-19 shutdowns, the City of Mandurah donated to Passages Peel frozen food and take away containers. Complementing this donation was a weekly delivery of frozen meals from Second Bite, as well as home cooked meals from local Mandurah resident Irene Kearns.
Providing meals and food can be one of the most immediate ways to respond to the needs of young people using Passages. Started during the height of the crisis, was a partnership between the local Toffee Café and Branch 28 of the Knights of the Southern Cross. A donation made it possible for freshly cooked meals to be delivered to Passages Perth each week providing a constant and reliable food supply. Although the project was initially to run for 15 weeks a further recent donation has meant that this can now be extended for another 5-6 weeks. Dr Anthony Rengel, a rural emergency hospital doctor and his wife donated what would have been their wedding reception deposit also to Toffee Café so this project can continue to provide meals to Passages Perth in the short term.
With many government restrictions now lifted, both Hubs are back to being fully operational. The incredible and continued support shown by the range of councils, organisations, community groups and individuals has meant that both Passages Youth Engagement Hubs can continue to be the first step for young people with complex needs out of homelessness.
Please visit passages.org.au