Approvals for the purchase of accommodation were received in March 1987. The process of sourcing premises suitable to the needs of Housing Project tenants took up a large part of the first half of 1987. In the time that these premises were being sought the Wooloowin property was used as a base for the Youth Housing Project. The upstairs area, comprising of a three bedroom, self-contained house, was used to accommodate a maximum of three (3) young people, both male and female. The downstairs flat area was used to accommodate the Youth Housing Project office and as an interim training flat for residents of Kedron Lodge. The maximum amount of accommodation available during this time allowed four people to utilise the project.
The acquisition of permanent project premises in August and October 1987 increased the amount of accommodation available to tenants and the range of options from which they were able to choose. Once the acquisition of permanent project premises happened, the maximum number of tenants accommodated at any one time was seven young people. Five young people in flats and two young people in share house style accommodation.
While this number of tenants was within the maximum number of eight and well within the estimates stated in the original submission for funding, it soon became apparent that the work load exceeded that which could be executed by one worker.
At the beginning of the 87/88 financial year an application for increased funding was submitted under the YSAAP programme. One extra salary was applied for and an increase in operating costs. It was evident that to fully execute the role of an autonomous Youth Housing Project it would require at least two full-time Youth Housing Workers.
A further allocation for the rental of separate office space was sought. It had become evident that a separation of support and accommodation functions was desirable.
Both of the refunding aspects were granted. Funds were now available to employ one more Youth Housing Worker and to rent an office starting from January 1988.
The CAP funded properties acquired in 1987 consisted of a 4 x 1 bedroom brick flat situated at Wilston and a 4 bedroom house in Kedron.
In seeking out these properties a number of major considerations were taken into account.
- Quality – It was felt that although allocated funds were limited the highest quality accommodation that could be acquired should be acquired. The provision of quality accommodation was seen as imperative if a responsible and concerned response was to be expected from project tenants.
- Privacy – Whether a project tenant choose to be accommodated in a single bedroom flat or in a shared environment it was seen as important to limit the intrusions on the individuals’ privacy. With this in mind, the one bedroom flats were limited in use to accommodate one single person or couples. The shared house provided well divided space with two lounges, two balconies, two bathrooms/toilets and separate access to each of the four bedrooms.
- Public Transport – It was obvious that young people on limited incomes resort to public transport quite frequently. It was therefore necessary to have access to public transport at hand.
- Choices – It was seen as desirable that prospective project tenants be able to choose a style of accommodation that matched their style of life. The purchase of single flats and shared house were seen as the beginning of this offer of choices.
- Neighbourhood – It was seen as desirable to locate project premises in areas that had established “neighbourhood” style infra-structures. Such establishments as corner stores, libraries, parks and so on were seen as beneficial to individuals who were attempting to integrate with the wider community. The decision to seek out established neighbourhoods did cause some problems as the presence of young people was perceived as a threat. This was difficult to overcome however some strategies were put into place to alleviate this problem.
One Youth Housing Worker had been employed since January ’87. The duties of a Youth Housing Support Worker were and continue to be many and varied. The dominant roles in 1987 were:-
- To locate and acquire appropriate premises.
- Provide supported, unsupervised accommodation for a maximum of eight (8) tenants.
- Fulfil the roles and responsibilities of landlord.
- Liaise with relevant bodies engaged in the Youth Housing Project and service development arenas.
- Attempt to educate communities on youth accommodation issues.
Given the granting of an extra salary in the 1988 year, the Youth Housing Worker role was divided rather than expanded. This was due to a number of the non-service provider roles having suffered in 1987 because of the lack of available staff hours and the demands of project tenants. With the establishment of office premises the need for a reception/administration role was heightened.
The Youth Housing Project currently is funded through the Qld State Government for a fulltime Manager, two full time Housing Support Workers, a part time Tenancy Management Worker, a part time Administration/Assistant Tenancy Worker and a part time Accountant.