In 2009, the Australian Department of Veterans Affairs released a report that identified that on any given night across Australia, over 3000 veterans were homeless due to their service to our nation. More recently, organisations such as Homelessness NSW, have argued that the numbers of homeless veterans across Australia is drastically higher than 3000, and have noted an increasing tendency for homeless veterans to be comparatively young in age.
In response to this growing crisis, RSL LifeCare founded the Contemporary Veterans Homelessness and Assistance Program (Homes for Heroes) at Narrabeen in NSW. The program is available to veterans of contemporary conflicts, ex-servicemen and women post-1991, and the families of those cohorts, provided they are genuinely homeless. In addition to permanent residents, we periodically provide accommodation to families and veterans on a short stay basis. There is no other dedicated homeless accommodation for contemporary veterans in Australia.
The program is a comprehensive rehabilitation service. We have taken the ‘housing first’ approach advocated by Mission Australia, and woven through many ‘wraparound’ programs and services. Every resident is required to give back to the program. For instance, by doing volunteer work, mentoring others, or engaging in education, training, and rehabilitation opportunities. The Homes for Heroes program is not a hotel service.
Chief Executive Officer of RSL LifeCare, Ron Thompson, stated: “the program is intended to provide the young man and woman returning from conflict, the stability, security, support, and opportunity to get back on their feet”.
The program is overseen by veteran, Adrian Talbot.
If you are in an emergency situation, please call us on 0408 928 432.