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Housing claims top public sector award again

​(L-R) Ruth Charles, A/Director Housing Programs, Housing Authority; Neil Fernandes, Managing Director, Central Institute of Technology; Jethro Sercombe, Manager Foyer Oxford; Kathleen Gregory, CEO Foundation Housing; the Premier Colin Barnett; Paul Whyte, A/CEO, Housing Authority.

The Housing Authority is the first public sector agency to claim the top prize two years running at the Premier’s Awards, winning in 2015 for its Foyer Oxford project in the Strengthening Families and Communities category.

Foyer Oxford is the first-of-its-kind in Western Australia and brings together a range of stakeholders to deliver a holistic response to youth homelessness. The 98-unit complex in Leederville completed in 2014 provides secure accommodation and services designed to transition young people into fully independent and productive lives.

Housing Authority Acting Chief Executive Officer, Paul Whyte said recognition of Foyer Oxford was a well-deserved accolade for the Authority and its key partners in the project: AngliecareWA, Foundation Housing, Central Institute of Technology, BHP Billiton, Commonwealth Department of Social Services, Department for Child Protection and Family Support, and Lotterywest.

“The Premier’s Awards are judged on government initiatives that provide high quality services and leadership to the community of Western Australia, and Foyer Oxford has certainly met and exceeded this requirement,” he said.

“Foyer Oxford is an innovative housing project that is the largest of its type in Australia and is designed to help transform the lives of young West Australians experiencing homelessness and other disadvantage.

“The project is also a celebration of what effective public, private and community sector partnerships can achieve and we are planning to do more of these types of partnerships in the future.”

The Housing Authority, Commonwealth government and Lotterywest funded the construction and fit-out of the world class facility in partnership with the Foyer Oxford consortium.

Foundation Housing manages the facility while Anglicare WA delivers the Foyer program, a proven best practice model which provides wrap around support for up to two years.  The Foyer is co-located on the Central Institute of Technology campus and the education institution also delivers a course designed specifically to meet the needs of the young people.

Funding for the Foyer for its first five years of operation is provided by the Department for Child Protection and Family Support and BHP Billiton.

“After about a year of operation the Foyer is at full capacity, having already helped more than 100 young people. Support agencies report that demand for places is strong and that entry to the Foyer is seen as a desirable option for young homeless people,” Mr Whyte said.

Foyer Oxford was one of seven entries in the Strengthening Families and Communities category of the Premier’sAwards, and one of 20 finalists selected across seven categories. The winners were announced by the Premier, Colin Barnett at a ceremony held on Wednesday 28 October.

The Housing Authority won the Premier’s Awards overall prize in 2014 for its Shared Equity EOI Program entered in the Developing the Economy category.

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