It is with great pleasure I present the President’s report 2020 – 2021 for North West Youth Accommodation Service (NWYAS). This is my first report as President, having taken over the role from Bec Killen in March 2021. Coming onto the Board as an ordinary member in November 2020 then taking on the role of President soon after has been a huge learning curve.
In 2020 -21 NYWAS received funding from the Queensland Governments’ Department of Communities, Housing and Digital Economy under the National Partnership Agreement on Homelessness to manage 14 properties while at the same time providing specialised case-management support to tenants of the service.
Despite COVID and the challenges of restrictions and ongoing snap lockdowns we continued to deliver these services to vulnerable young people experiencing homelessness. This has meant making key changes to the way we do things, including providing case management primarily by methods such as phone and video conferencing. Also, we have had to find ways to safely move young people in and out of housing while ensuring that risks to our staff and young people are minimal to nonexistent.
The staff have been exceptional in rising to this challenge and I would like to acknowledge the incredible work of the team. Led by Nicole the team have consistently demonstrated a commitment to supporting young people to make positive changes.
Their passion for the work is reflected in the significant outcomes we have achieved over the year.
NWYAS has also come up against remarkable challenges in being able to move young people onto long term stable housing. With readiness to move to fuller independence, our young people have made real strides in developing the skills and stability to no longer require the level of support we offer.
However, a very real lack of alternative housing options means young people remain with us for longer than planned. We know housing stress is being experienced at all levels, but young people have been particularly hard hit. As I write the report no real solution has been found.
Thank you to the other members of the Board, Heath (Treasurer), Jake (Secretary) Sue (Vice President) Ella, Amanda, Harry, and Hans. We are a relatively new team, and I would like to acknowledge the extensive skill base of our Board and the time that everyone has given to the governance of NWYAS. I am excited for the year ahead and all that we hope to achieve as a collective. I would also like to acknowledge and thank Bec Killen, past President and Simon Booth, past Treasurer who both resigned from the Board during 20-21.
Looking forward in 2021/ 22 we said goodbye to Nicole in August 2021 as our Manager and welcomed Samantha Wallwork into this role. Sam brings to the organisation significant expertise in case management, child protection and family support. We look forward to Sam applying her expertise to the role of Manager as we prepare for a new strategic plan and work with the sector and government to address the housing crisis and finding long term safe housing for young people.
Finally, a sincere and heartfelt thank you to our local members, businesses and community members who have supported us over the year.