The Lighthouse Foundation runs therapeutic care programs in five of our Haven Houses. We catch up on the significant progress and achievements of some of their residents.
Haven House Clayton
This purpose-built, modern, and welcoming home supports four young mums and their children who are at significant risk of homelessness. “The Clayton home is beautiful – warm, inviting and beautifully furnished, and the garden is growing well with new herbs sprouting,” says Lighthouse. “Because of the Property Industry Foundation, we have been able to offer nurturing care in this home to several young women and their babies, and more families have been able to break the pattern of intergenerational homelessness.”
Julia and her son Aaron have been living in the home since May 2022. They recently completed a short stay at Tweddle, an intensive parenting support program. Aaron is now enrolled part-time with Monash Special Development School (Early Education) to support his delayed speech, while also making friends at three-year-old kinder. Julia has reconnected with a trusted family member and has a growing community to support her trauma recovery and develop skills for independent living.
Another young mother has been making great progress at the home – learning to develop a positive, healthy attachment with her young son, despite coming from a background of parental abuse. As well as learning to drive, she is enrolling in a Certificate 3 course, with the goal of furthering her education and finding employment.
Haven House Bonbeach
This transitional Haven House has supported many vulnerable young people in getting back on their feet, with a focus on developing life skills through cooking, household chores and Individual Development Plans.
Current resident, Jamie, recently secured his motorcycle license and work as a traffic controller. He’s also embarking on a mechanics course. Jamie has a background of abuse, neglect, family conflict and parental substance abuse, but his Therapeutic Carer is incredibly proud of his progress. “Since coming to Lighthouse, he has healed and learned to trust again, and is becoming a delightful young man. He is calm and quiet and is growing in confidence and independence.”
The house recently welcomed Corey, who is in the process of securing identity documentation – often a barrier to homeless youth – and will then be connected into school or TAFE, and healthcare services. “We are glad to have brought Corey into the Lighthouse family and look forward to walking alongside him in his recovery journey,” says Lighthouse.
In a home that offers a happy family environment, Bonbeach has hosted visitors from other Lighthouse homes at a joyful 13th birthday party and a Christmas in July event.
Haven House Coburg North
In this six-bedroom house for mothers and babies, Lighthouse provides support for up to four disadvantaged young mums and their babies, with two live-in carers.
Claire originally joined the home when she was 38 weeks pregnant and homeless. After struggling with substance abuse, she had completed a rehabilitation program and begun preparing herself for motherhood but had nowhere to call home and no social supports available to her.
She was invited to join Lighthouse’s Young Parents and Babies Program. “Claire slowly adapted to her new life, including the regular interactions with her carers and psychologists,” says Lighthouse. “Their thoughtful and reliable engagement helped to repair Claire’s damaged worldview and showed her that genuine, healthy and trusting relationships were possible.”
After a year in the home, Claire developed a strong attachment with her baby boy and learnt vital parenting skills. She transitioned to independent living but remained part of Lighthouse’s On for Life program, which offers ongoing support through access to therapeutic case management, community events, activities, and goods. “Claire and her son remained closely connected to the Coburg North home and she was later able to return for a period when she felt she wasn’t coping,” says Lighthouse.
Claire’s return to the home demonstrates the importance of On for Life. “Lighthouse carers and psychologists are providing wraparound support to this little family and are thrilled to see how well they are doing. With the Property Industry Foundation’s support for the Coburg North home, we might not have had a place for Claire and her son to come to, and we are incredibly grateful for the Foundation’s contributions to the home – including significantly improving the homes and gardens for the residents and carers through working bees.”
Haven House Heathmont
Theresa, a young mother in Haven House Heathmont has been kicking professional and personal goals over the past six months – passing her driving test, starting a TAFE beauty course, and building a loving, nurturing relationship with her son Zac as she progresses towards employment and independence. “She has been able to develop trusting relationships and experience a sense of belonging and purpose, and a growth in personal agency,” says Lighthouse. “She approaches her future with hope and positivity. We are so grateful to the Property Industry Foundation for the support for our Heathmont home, which allows us to assist young women like Theresa and their children.”
Another young mum at the house graduated from the HoMie Pathway Alliance program, where she achieved a Certificate 3 in retail operations and was kept on in her retail role. “After observing the positive interactions between this young mother and her child, Child Protection determined that they no longer needed to monitor them as there were no safety concerns,” says Lighthouse.
And this is just the beginning, say the Lighthouse team. “With the support of our partners like the Property Industry Foundation, we have been able to open a third Parents and Babies home and provide consistent, nurturing care to even more vulnerable young people. We also started a parent’s group for the homes with an external facilitator. This gave the young mother’s space to connect with each other and learn to delight in play with their babies. It was also a space for the young mothers to ask questions and engage in further parental education.”