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Disadvantaged youth from Lighthouse Foundation find a home in PIF house

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Lighthouse Foundation

Four disadvantaged young people and two live-in carers from the Lighthouse Foundation are set to move into the Property Industry Foundation’s new Clayton home, as the project nears completion.

PIF House Clayton is a purpose-built home for the Lighthouse Foundation, made possible by the generous contribution of companies across the property and construction industry who have donated time and materials to the project pro-bono. This includes Frasers Property Australia, which has led the build over the past two years.

The group of residents set to move into PIF House Clayton are part of the Lighthouse Foundation’s parent and baby cohort, which typically includes very young mums who have had their first (or in some cases second or third) child and are at significant risk of homelessness.

Susan Barton AM, Founder and Executive Director at the Lighthouse Foundation, says PIF House Clayton will provide a safe and welcoming environment for residents.

“We are so deeply grateful for our partnership with the Property Industry Foundation. Many of our kids come from residential care environments that are quite cold, where there are no pictures on the walls,” she explains.

“The Property Industry Foundation understands these aren’t just houses, they are homes. They work to ensure these spaces are beautifully decorated and treasured, which makes a huge difference to our kids feeling safe, secure, and free to have those normal childhood experiences again.”

Residents will be cared for under the Lighthouse Model of Care, which integrates trauma- informed practice, attachment theory, and contemporary psychoanalytic theory to create a holistic therapeutic treatment environment in which the mental and physical wellbeing of these young people are developed and enriched.

Dr Eamonn McCarthy, CEO of the Lighthouse Foundation and one of Victoria’s most respected forensic psychologists in the field of childhood trauma, attachment, and high-risk youth, elaborates:

“The Lighthouse Model of Care avoids the notion of a one-size-fits-all approach. It’s about looking at the individual child and making sure you’re adapting your way of caring for them, helping these children to not only survive, but thrive.”

Dr McCarthy explains that the optimal development of wellness requires an integrated set of operations, which involves not only individuals and families in a community context, but also macro-level societal structures.

“That’s where PIF and the collective strength of the property industry come in, by providing these tangible, welcoming environments. By working together, we truly believe we can change the face of homelessness and eradicate it for good, one child at a time.”

Dylan, a former resident of the Lighthouse program, says he found a real home through the Lighthouse Foundation.

“I had my own room, my own things and people who cared about me. Every morning I knew that my Carer and I could have breakfast together, and after a while, I actually wanted to come home for family dinners,” he said.

“The best part was that I knew I wasn’t leaving any time soon. I could start thinking about my future. I made good friends in the Lighthouse community and my Carers helped me to start making positive choices.”

The Lighthouse Foundation works with young people to achieve stability and independence in their own lives, by helping them to enter educational programs, transition to stable housing and put them on the path to finding a rewarding career.

Susan Barton said: “These kids, they need love, they need genuine care that’s not from a system or someone who’s necessarily just paid to be there. They need and deserve people who are genuinely invested in helping them to transform their lives.”

“Together, with the strength of our deeply held relationship with the Property Industry Foundation, we’ve been able to make a real difference in the lives of young homeless people. At Lighthouse, our alumni total more than 1300 young people who have been through the program and transitioned out of Lighthouse to the point where they will likely never come back into a homeless program again.”

“But despite this, the goal is not for us to be the last stop. Even once they’ve physically left that home, they have a lifetime membership to Lighthouse. They are always welcome home.”

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