Federal Member for Fairfax Ted O’Brien MP and IFYS (The Integrated Family and Youth Service) will formally open ‘The Old Church’ youth accommodation program for homeless young people who are transition out of homelessness, on June 29.
IFYS refurbished the former church complex of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, in McKay Street, Nambour, into 21 rooms for young people in need.
The project was instigated as a result of inadequate accommodation options for young people trying to transition from homelessness. IFYS operates a six-bed crisis facility for young people in need on the Sunshine Coast, and a further five beds in Caboolture, so The Old Church dramatically increases the available support to those in need.
The Old Church provides young people with safe accommodation with services that enable positive education and employment outcomes, with the goal being to help young people to build careers and to ultimately transition to their own accommodation.
Member for Fairfax Ted O’Brien announced $790,834 in Federal Government funding towards the project in April 2022 to provide support for residents with a particular focus on ‘learning and earning’ activities to strengthen a young person’s employment options.
“I am delighted to be here today to formally open ‘The Old Church’”, Mr O’Brien said.
“It’s great to see an old building, which once provided important spiritual guidance, now providing a fresh for start at-risk youth, who have found themselves in the terrible situation of being homeless.”
Managing Director of IFYS Tony Pignata noted that a safe and caring environment is vital if we are to help young people live and build better lives and become active and functioning members of our community.
“We know that if you don’t have a safe place to sleep, you can’t address education issues, you can’t address mental health, you can’t address physical health – it’s just not possible,” he explained.
“A young person living in this style of accommodation knows they have a safe place for up to two years, and that can really propel them on to do incredible things when it comes to learning or earning; they could complete all sorts of certificates inside of two years, they could be almost finished a second-year apprenticeship, just to name a few items that are possible.
“The idea beyond that is to work with them to gain greater independence by moving into their own accommodation. The Old Church will provide them a very stable base to address all these aspects of their lives.”