Rotary District 9705 is a proud supporter of Ruby’s home, which supports at-risk youth with safe housing in NSW and the ACT.
Past District Governor Michael Moore launched the Rotary District 9705 Vulnerable Youth Project during his 2020-21 term in direct response to Australia’s growing youth homelessness crisis.
The project supports the establishment of Ruby’s homes – homes for youth at risk or currently experiencing homelessness in the ACT and southern NSW. The homes are owned by the NSW/ACT Governments and are modified to have six bedrooms to allow young people aged 10 to 17 to stay for up to three nights a week, then return home for four days, for a six-month period. Homes are staffed by youth workers 24/7.
Ongoing support is provided by social workers and allied health professionals, who work with parents to aid reconciliation with the goal of reuniting the family.
“Ruby’s acts as a circuit breaker, allowing dysfunctional families to have time apart as tension and other problems emerge,” said Dr David Marshall AM, Chair of the Vulnerable Youth Project. “Without intervention, the end result could be young people leaving home permanently and entering the homelessness sector, where their lives deteriorate dramatically.”
“Ruby’s acts as a circuit breaker, allowing dysfunctional families to have time apart as tension and other problems emerge. Without intervention, the end result could be young people leaving home permanently and entering the homelessness sector, where their lives deteriorate dramatically.”
The project has been run in South Australia for almost 30 years by Uniting Communities, and around 80 per cent of the families and youths in the program have reunited.
Most referrals to the program come from families, as well as police, education providers, medical professionals, and other government service providers.
Ruby’s homes don’t stand out in any way – they look like any other suburban house. The ACT/NSW Governments tender out the running of the facilities to a specialist service provider such as Vinnies or the Salvation Army. Each project is branded a Rotary initiative in association with the local council and the NSW/ACT Governments, Uniting Communities, and the chosen service provider.
Where do Rotary clubs come in?
A club’s financial commitment is limited, but they do assist in serving on a working group to design and establish a home. They also assist in identifying funding sources and performing other voluntary services, such as gardening.
David has been speaking to Rotarians about the initiative for the past two years.
“I encourage clubs to establish a Ruby’s home in their local area to support young people facing serious personal challenges,” David said. “We have already opened our first Ruby’s home in the Canberra suburb of Waramanga, and there are clubs across the district now considering establishing homes to prevent the spiralling surge of youth homelessness.
“I would welcome the opportunity of addressing your club over the next few months on how your club could establish a home. Please reach out and have me or a member of our Governance Board present to your Rotary club,” David said. “I hope to hear from you.”
Contact David via email@example.com