”“It's beautiful to witness these young people return home,
not needing the shelter again.”
This is Tully, a senior worker at Colville Place, a mixed-gender crisis shelter, offering temporary accommodation and stability for young people between 12 and 15 years old.
Along with her colleagues, she’s entrusted with supporting young individuals throughout the day, ensuring they attend school, appointments, and most importantly, working towards achieving housing outcomes tailored to their unique circumstances.
“Our primary goal is to provide the necessary support and intervention to mend strained relationships and create a safe environment for their return home to their families,” she said.
The reasons why these young people find themselves at Colville Place are diverse and complex.
“From conflicts within their families to families experiencing homelessness themselves, we often encounter young people who have experienced profound trauma, and our job is to guide them towards their future.
“Working hand in hand with them, their families, and their support networks, we embark on a journey to understand their needs, capacities, and aspirations.”
Every person that comes through the doors has led a different life, so Tully’s approach must be customisable and unique.
Through conversations and hard work, she meets with families, discussing the past, understanding the current situation, and exploring their hopes and dreams to support one another and pave the way for a future together.
“We have witnessed remarkable success in the process of family reunification,” she said.
“Once we comprehensively understand the young person’s situation and receive input from the family, we embark on creating transition plans.
“Safety plans become a cornerstone of our work, ensuring that everyone involved knows how to handle conflicts appropriately, it’s a very practical approach.
In some instances, we have created posters that serve as visual reminders, empowering everyone and ensuring they have a clear pathway towards healing and support.
“It’s so beautiful to witness these young people return home, knowing we’ve made a positive impact; we hope they won’t need our shelter again,” she said.
Years after a young person has left, Tully describes the joy of receiving calls about their lives and accomplishments.
“These messages are the best reward we could ask for, knowing the support we provided played a role in their success.”
Parents also express their gratitude, sharing stories of reconnection and spending quality time with their children again.
“Yet, it is not without struggle, we have to fight tirelessly to ensure that young people have access to the services they need, services that are often lacking,” she said.
“The true beauty lies in witnessing a young person, burdened by the weight of drug and alcohol issues, finding the support they need to envision a life of recovery.
“Families come to us seeking hope and support, and it’s an honour to be part of their journey, to help them rebuild their lives.”
Colville Place is where lives are transformed and young people’s resilience is nurtured.