The Property Industry Foundation has built two Haven Houses in Sydney’s Dulwich Hill, in 2009 and 2022, both managed by our charity partners at Stepping Stone House. Stepping Stone House provides accommodation and personal development to homeless and at-risk youth and have helped over 450 young people to become independent and find steady employment.
Refugee to University Student
*Cat fled her home country and arrived in Australia as a dependent and refugee. When she could no longer live at home, she was removed from her family’s visa and found herself in a foreign country with no rights to Centrelink to support herself. She lived in the Foundation’s original Haven House Dulwich Hill rent free and found a job to support herself through year 12.
Stepping Stone House engaged a pro-bono lawyer to apply for Cat’s application for refugee status, independent of her family’s visa. While Cat waits for her application to be finalised, she is studying at university, living in a semi-independent home and working part time. Stepping Stone House even found Cat funding to allow her to enrol in tertiary studies, without paying high international student fees.
From Homelessness Services to a Home
The second Haven House property to open its doors in December 2021 is a medium-term accommodation supporting Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander young people, with Stepping Stone House Aboriginal Youth Workers. This house offers a number of activities that link residents to their Aboriginal culture. This year, the young people have participated in a cultural quad bike tour in Port Macquarie, weaving classes, weekly cultural sunrise walks and participation in NAIDOC week events.
The first resident at Haven House Dulwich Hill when it opened was *Kristin, a young Aboriginal girl who had previously been bouncing around between different homelessness services. Since entering this program, Kristin says it’s the first time she’s ever felt like she has a home. Kristin works incredibly hard to juggle a job in after school care, where she teaches Aboriginal arts, and studying to become a Teacher’s Aid, after gaining her Certificate Three in Aboriginal Art through Eora Tafe. Kristin has also been working through her living skills and is now preparing to move into her own apartment and towards independence.
*Names changed to protect privacy