Concierges progressing well
23 July 2018
Major Brendan Nottle, corps officer of Melbourne Project 614, 69 Bourke Street, Melbourne, says the Concierge program (employing formerly homeless people to help homeless people) has moved past the pilot stage.
To help people who are homeless requires both an awareness of the problem and a willing readiness to address it. The Salvation Army’s biggest need is not a single factor; we need more human resources and financial resources.
The Salvation Army’s concierge program at 69 Bourke Street, Melbourne, which commenced in January, places formerly homeless people into employment as liaisons with rough sleepers and local businesses. The pilot stage of the program has successfully concluded, and funding has been secured until the close of December 2018.
Some of our concierges haven’t worked for decades prior to starting with us; with patience and belief, we have worked through the issues that arise, and the men and women in the program abide by our standard and values. We love them and place trust in them, and that trust is returned.
The concierges have been given an opportunity to rise to the challenge, and they’ve met it. Being treated and respect as ‘normal’ members of the workforce gives them hope.
For those people who want to cast the world in dollar terms, in clinical detachment, as well as the cost of the concierge program you also have to look at a cost benefit analysis. Some of our people were regular callers to 000, and regular visitors to emergency rooms in our hospitals. This has changed.
Hope is an incredible resource, and as accommodation and employment and training has come` into these people’s lives, they have grown and healed. Access to good food and to good ways of living has benefitted them and us, and their self-esteem is built on achievement, validation and self-respect.
This society’s desire to ‘monetise’ people is ludicrous. I look at the growth of individuals who have been reclaimed from misery, people who are a part of my life, and I wonder why it is we try to put a dollar value on redemption.
Social work and community work go hand in hand, when you treat a client as a human being and a fellow member of the human race. What price can you put on hope?
Find more information about The Salvation Army’s concierges