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“One of the most rewarding outcomes is the development of confidence in someone seeking help."

Introducing Arunya, a Colony 47 Graham Flower Scholarship recipient – a scholarship that supports university students working in areas of homelessness and supporting young people to succeed.

As part of her university studies, Arunya completed a Master of Social Work honours degree, undertaking a research project focused on the crucial factors that facilitate recovery for people facing mental illness, housing instability and homelessness.

She was congratulated by her examiners, who said her research contributed greatly to housing literature.

Arunya’s work with us aims to empower people socially, focusing on mental health that provides well-rounded support.

“The program I work in is about providing stability for the client, not just for themselves but within their homes, so that when the program or services stop, they can live independently,” she said.

Working closely with individuals facing mental illness as part of the Housing and Accommodation Support Initiative, her role is to intervene and connect clients with the necessary support, using a wrap-around approach.

“I recall a client I worked with during my placement who was in a difficult place, disconnected from any services and struggling with hoarding.

“But now, they have made significant progress – they see a psychologist, have a regular GP, and their home is in order.

“While there are ongoing complexities, they have learnt to reach out for support and make positive changes.

“Asking for support and advocating for one’s needs may seem small, but it’s a huge step, especially for those experiencing mental illness.”

One of the most rewarding outcomes she has witnessed is the development of confidence in seeking help and standing up for oneself.

“Mental illness varies from person to person, as does the need for support. Our diverse client base and growing waitlist reflect this.

“Flexibility is crucial as we encounter different situations and experiences. Rigidity doesn’t work; we must adapt and be flexible in our approach.

“However, it can be challenging when clients struggle to see their own progress.

“Given how difficult it is to have a positive perspective in a low place, it’s understandable, but as their support, I wish they could see the amazing strides they’ve made.

“In the end, it’s about understanding everyone’s journey and providing the tailored support they need,” she said.

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