Redland Community Centre have been delivering the Homeless United (HU) Program since 2018. The service first began as a response to the homeless people in the region and the social isolation they experience. Homeless United initially offered a free sit-down dinner service every night of the week. Allison Wicks, CEO of Redland Community Centre explained the concept behind the free, community dinners.
“The dinner was designed to replace the ‘family kitchen’, giving everyone a seat around HU the dinner table, a safe place to belong and feel cared for.”
Every Tuesday night after dinner, collaborative services were invited to connect with the homeless community, providing wrap around supports and services from the Community Centre in Capalaba.
Today, the Homeless United Program has grown to include an array of allied service connections and supports for people, responding to both their physical and psychological needs. These supports are available at the centre and via outreach, including hot showers, laundry services, hot food, clothes, hygiene items, towels, staples food, case management, housing solutions, job opportunities, social connections and more. This incredible work continued throughout COVID-19 as the HU team led an effort to house many vulnerable community members as part of their Rapid Response to Homelessness. The team were also nominated by their peers to lead their region’s Care Coordination Project, which is now facilitated by Q shelter.
Homeless United have been working alongside partner organisations to share innovative ideas and continue to deepen their insight into the barriers and impacts of homelessness on their community. Since its inception, the HU team has worked to collect significant data about the homeless populations throughout Redlands, SMBI and Wynnum to further understand their needs. Their work has seen an incredible 1,057 people supported into housing to in under 4 years.
Homeless United was offered 18 months of funding from the State Government (Department of Communities, Housing and Digital Economies) and over that time they demonstrated the need for ongoing support. This funding expired in October 2021, and HU was unable to secure ongoing funding via a tender process. The program closed down briefly while the Redland Community Centre Board decided what the next step would be.
“After much community support, letters and emails asking the program to continue, the Board reopened the program because, ‘it was the right thing to do’. Since then, HU has been operating purely on community kindness and our Friends of Homeless United” Allison explains.
In early September this year, the ‘No Place Like Home’ consortium of Real Estate Agents led by Louise Denisenko, hosted their second annual charity dinner and auction to keep the service up and running. The sell-out event raised $33,000, a true demonstration of how much the community values the Homeless United program.
As the cost of living and housing prices continue to rise across Queensland, people’s lives are being severely impacted and the number of people experiencing homelessness is being reported as worse than ever before. Now more than ever, programs like Homeless United are seeing increasing demand from the community. The constant and tireless work on behalf of Redland Community Centre ensures no one in their community is left behind. Each and every person who walks through their doors is supported with dignity and genuine care. Their work deserves to be recognised, supported and celebrated.
You can learn more about the Homeless United Program here:
Friends of Homeless United are local business that pledge support to the HU program via a membership level and contribute monthly to the ongoing delivery of the program. If you would like to become a ‘Friend of Homeless United’ more information can be found here:
Redland Community Centre was recently acknowledged as a Finalist in the QCOSS Community Impact Awards. Redland CC was very excited to be announced the Winner of the Redlands Coast Chamber of Commerce Business Excellence Awards in the Health and Social Services sector.
Published 27 October 2022
Written By Taylor Bast