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    Coat of ArmsMedia Release
    Minister for Housing and Public Works, Minister for Digital Technology and Minister for Sport
    The Honourable Mick de Brenni

    Wednesday, January 22, 2020

    Dignity First Fund supports employment skills in Toowoomba

    Minister for Housing and Public Works, Minister for Digital Technology and Minister for Sport
    The Honourable Mick de Brenni

    Wednesday, January 22, 2020

    Dignity First Fund supports employment skills in Toowoomba

    Toowoomba based organisations have secured Palaszczuk Government support to transition people away from homelessness with dignity that lasts, under the fourth round of the Dignity First Fund.

    Minister for Housing and Public Works Mick de Brenni visited Emerge Café yesterday, one of three Toowoomba organisations who will benefit from Dignity First funds to support their innovative approaches to supporting Queenslanders out of homelessness.

    “Queenslanders, especially in the regions, have a reputation for lending a hand to those doing it tough, and the Palaszczuk Government’s Dignity First investment helps this community deliver that.

    “The Palaszczuk Government is supporting grassroots organisations to deliver localised services tailored to their community, with real focus on supporting people to get the life skills they need to hold down a job.

    “Emerge Toowoomba have employed 18 people in the last 12 months, delivering mentoring programs to young people in the region, as well as providing them with crisis accommodation when they need a place to turn.”

    Jen Shaw, CEO of Emerge Café said the Dignity First Funding meant that Emerge Café was able to provide more opportunities for kids to access crisis support, mentoring programs and employment opportunities.

    “It’s amazing the government has recognised the importance of our grassroots organisation and supports the difference we are making for young people experiencing homelessness in the Toowoomba area.

    “It’s all about helping young people gain the skills and confidence to move their lives beyond homelessness to successful tenancies, education and employment opportunities.

    “We currently have 12 junior staff working in the café and we’ve employed 18 since we began in February 2019.

    Ms Shaw said that there were many success stories from Emerge, but one was particularly inspiring.

    “A young man came to us through the Youth Hub needing something to eat and help to move beyond couch surfing,” she said.

    “By engaging with him, supporting his interests and providing mentoring, he has now progressed to full time work and study, and is living in a successful tenancy.”

    Toowoomba organisation Base Services Inc. has also received $93,000 through Dignity First Round Four to provide wrap around services and training through their 2nd Shot mobile coffee vans.

    Tiffany Spary, Social Worker at Base Services Inc. said overcoming the barriers to maintaining a place to live and work was sometimes as simple as getting help to open a bank account.

    “Things we may take for granted can make all the difference to someone experiencing homelessness who is trying to move their life forward.

    “We’ve had some amazing successes with 21 of the 28 people who attended our fulltime life skills’ courses in 2019, now in employment with successful tenancies.

    “Recently a new migrant escaping domestic violence came to us and through our support programs, is now working as an interpreter for a government organisation.

    “Dignity First funding means we can continue this valuable work and make a tangible difference in the lives of those facing barriers to success.”

    Mr de Brenni said the full list of successful Dignity First Round Four programs would be announced in coming weeks.

    “I want to thank the applicants for the great work already happening in their communities and for taking the time to come up with new, innovative ideas.

    “These projects make an immense difference in many peoples lives and we’re looking forward to seeing how these new projects assist Queenslanders who are doing it tough.

    “Whatever situation you’re in, you have the right to live with dignity, and Dignity First projects help deliver that.

    “I’m pleased to announce that due to a high number of high quality applications, a fifth funding round for Dignity First will be brought forward to the first half of this year.

    This is an opportunity for organisations that were not successful in Round 4 and other organisations with innovative ideas to make a submission for funding” Mr de Brenni said.

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    Media contact: Rosie Gilbert: 0466 834 330