Homelessness Week 2020
In recognition of Homelessness week 2020, we wanted to share a story from one of our amazing Case Managers who works to help prevent homelessness for youth you are at risk and also to develop strategies to gain the best outcomes for young people aged 15-21 years, who are homeless and residing in post crisis accommodation.
This short article discusses what life was like for our frontline workers and their clients at the peak of the COVID-19 outbreak here in WA.
Currently the MOMO and Reconnect programs have been running at full capacity to support our clients albeit with many changes made to service provision due to the COVID-19 pandemic. For us as a team it has mostly been business as usual and the safety adjustments made to keep ourselves and our clients safe has been completed mostly without difficulties. The biggest impacts have been the inability for us to transport clients and the move toward a virtual style of service provision. Given the demographic of clients we work with and their high and complex needs it’s added a little more difficulty to manage continuity of engagement with them. That said we have found that most of the clients have transitioned well to this new style of engagement and have been relying on us more than usual given they have reduced access to other supports in the community at the present time.
Young people continue to demonstrate their resiliency and capacity for adaptability. Those that having caring responsibilities for grandparents or young children have the incredibly complex task of taking on adult responsibility while attempting to stabilise their families.
Others we are having regular contact with to assess suicidality, physical and emotional risk while they isolate in homes where assault, police presence and abuse continue to occur. Some have reported that the notion of ‘social distancing’ is laughable when they rely on acquaintances’ lounges, crisis accommodation and sleeping in numbers for safety if the street is all they have for the night. We manage to giggle at the absurdity and planning that goes into identifying empty car parks that are co-located with drive through coffee (there are more than you think!) Our stressed and exhausted parents often meet us there, if another walk in the park, zoom meeting or ‘driveway session’ seems to repetitive.
While our concern for some of our most vulnerable weighs heavily, luckily, our role also allows us daily reminders and first hand observations of the resilience and hope of those we support.