Welcome back from the Foundation

During the holidays I got a break from the city – and that comes on the back of 2020 where we all took a much longer break from the city than we had expected. I’m happy to be back. I like being with people, in among the human spirit. I think that people are supposed to be together so we can plan, create, build and have fun, but also know what is going on and look out for each other.

When I walk along any main street in the city, I always note the beds tucked away in alcoves. George St in Sydney is no different, with ten or so beds located up and down the street in full view on the pavement, like little homes with possessions piled around them. Often, just as you are getting to know the faces and stories of the inhabitants, they can disappear to be replaced by someone new. You don’t know where they have gone.

This year there is a new young woman on the street. She has two cats that she cares for, keeping them fed and fastidiously clean.  She has little homes for each of them beside her bed. When I pass her, I reflect that I wish there was a home for her, and that someone could care for her the way she cares for her cats. I don’t know her individual story, but I know the broader story. How young people fall between the cracks until the only option left is to make a bed on the street, to be homeless, but still have the capacity to make a home for others.

At the Foundation we are all about catching young people as they fall. Building homes for homeless youth is only one part of the puzzle – but it’s an essential part. Working with you and our charity partners mean that we can increase the supply of transition accommodation, where young people get a chance to thrive. Thanks for all the support you showed us last year and we are looking forward to working with you this year, to bring the industry together to have an impact on the lives of homeless youth.

We have an exciting building program in Victoria, New South Wales and Queensland this year that should result in an extra 30 bedrooms being available for homeless and at-risk youth. Unfortunately, I can’t guarantee that young woman I see on the street on my way to work will end up in a home that you help us build this year. Youth homelessness is complex, so it’s hard to draw a direct line between her and what we do. But I can tell you that every bedroom that you build with us gives three young people every year a safe and secure place from which to rebuild their lives. And if it’s not that young woman, then it is someone just like her.

The challenges that we faced last year with the pandemic are in no way over. Like all organisations, we are innovating and looking at new ways to work with you and bring the industry together for a great cause. If you have any ideas or just want to give us some feedback then please don’t hesitate to get in touch.