Due to expert health advice promoting social distancing, Vinnies have made the decision to postpone the celebration of Street to Home’s 10 year anniversary.
“We are disappointed to have to postpone this event, as we were looking forward to marking ten years of helping Canberrans experiencing homelessness, but we must place the health of our companions, supporters and members at the forefront of our decision-making,” said Barnie van Wyk, CEO of the St Vincent de Paul Society Canberra/Goulburn.
Street to Home is funded by the ACT Community Service Directorate, and is focusing on the Housing First model that acknowledges the importance of shelter for supporting wellness in people.
Street to Home case managers meet rough sleepers where they are and work with them to transition into stable accommodation. Once someone is safely and securely housed, addressing often multiple, other complex needs becomes possible.
One person who has benefited from the flexible model of care that Street to Home offers is Sam. Sam first came into contact with Vinnies 3 years ago as he was working to find accommodation and overcome addiction. 
“As I was entering recovery I knew what I needed but it was all such a jumble,” said Sam.
Vinnies was able to provide some structure, support and guidance so Sam could access the services he needed to achieve his goals. 
“They drove me to medical appointments, and to Smart Recovery meetings, helped me with my application to receive an NDIS package, and to access the Disability Support Pension.”
“It’s thanks to Vinnies that I can even have Jed,” said Sam, referring to his 11 year old rescue greyhound. 
“The difference they gave was in providing stability. I wasn’t alone.”
“In March 2010, when Vinnies initiated Street to Home in Canberra, it was the second of its kind in Australia, after South Australia. Now most capital cities have a Street to Home program,’ said Erin Macarthur, Director of Special Works with the St Vincent de Paul Society Canberra/Goulburn.  
“Vinnies Street to Home is an integral part of the homelessness sector in Canberra, and a driving force in ensuring safe accommodation for people sleeping rough. I’m proud of our amazing case managers, and more than anything else the people who work so hard to gain independence,” she said. 
Minister for Housing and Suburban Development, Yvette Berry, said “Thank you to the Street to Home team for their hard work and dedication over the last 10 years. 
“For many of our community members, Street to Home has been a kind face and a helping hand. 
“This life changing program commits to supporting people who are sleeping rough or who are experiencing chronic long-term homelessness in Canberra. 
“Street to Home is an integral part of the specialist homelessness sector, providing a unique and dedicated program that actively seeks and engages with those sleeping rough, building a relationship based on understanding and respect,” Minister Berry said. 
“Homelessness is a core issue for Vinnies and we are dedicated to eradicating it. We believe Housing is a basic Human Right, and there is no reason why anyone in Australia should be without adequate shelter and a safe place to sleep each night. Street to Home, therefore, is a program that exemplifies Vinnies values,” said Mr van Wyk.
“The St Vincent de Paul Society’s ethos is to provide a hand up to people in need. We walk beside people, meeting them where they are, supporting them to achieve independence and prosperity,” he added. 
As Sam summarises, “Vinnies really helped me, but mostly they helped me help myself.”

19 March 2020