A youth driver training project and a mobile soup kitchen will share in $274,000 in funding from the Palaszczuk Government’s Dignity First Fund, providing education and skills opportunities for people experiencing homelessness in Toowoomba.
Minister for Housing and Public Works Mick de Brenni said Base Services would use $216,000 from the Dignity First Fund for its Soup for a Soup Kitchen initiative.
“The project will use a food van service to run as a local business,” Mr de Brenni said.
“Not only will the van act as an outreach service to people experiencing homelessness, Base Services will partner with a local training provider so participants can achieve a Certificate III in Hospitality, which is a great outcome.”
Tiffany Spary from Base Services said the project will expand the service the organisation has been providing to homeless people in Toowoomba for the past 24 years.
“There aren’t many food services here in Toowoomba, so making the most of what we can offer is really important for this region,” Ms Spary said.
“What we’re doing with this project not only extends our outreach to people who really need it, we’re also helping to up-skill some vulnerable people which will help them achieve independence.”
“Providing food is an important immediate response, but this will also support people longer term through education and skills training.”
The Haven, which has been providing transitional accommodation to young people experiencing homelessness for the past 30 years, plans to launch projects offering driver training and positive life experiences to young people with $58,190 in Dignity First Funding.
The Haven Manager Amanda Dalton said the benefits will extend beyond obtaining a provisional driver licence, with the project supporting improved employment outcomes.
"In many cases, you need a driver licence to get a job - it's often a prerequisite for a trade apprenticeship, or for industries which have early starts or late finishes like hospitality,” Ms Dalton said.
"Getting your licence is also a milestone event for a young person. It marks a step toward adulthood and independence, and that confidence flows through to other areas of a young person's life."
Mr de Brenni said the Dignity First Fund was designed to encourage innovative, non-traditional ideas to help people experiencing homelessness through the hard times.
“Homelessness is a complex issue which requires a sophisticated response.
“But while we work toward longer term solutions, there are many wonderful community organisations like The Haven and the Base Services who are helping people to live with dignity,” said Mr de Brenni.
“Everyone has the right to live with dignity irrespective of the situation they may find themselves in.
“It is also an opportunity for us to show these vulnerable members of our community that they have not been forgotten and that we are working to help them out of this situation.”