HOME in Queanbeyan has the chance to change the life of one more person with a mental illness thanks to their newest unit opening up.
The organisation officially opened their new unit on Thursday with an afternoon tea attended by residents, staff and local dignitaries.
Manager of HOME Anne Pratt said she was very excited to be able to bring one more resident into the fold.
“It’s giving one more person the chance for their lives to change,” Ms Pratt said.
“To be more than just a mental illness, we can help them find that human side again.”
Sunday marked eight years since the opening of home and in that time Ms Pratt said she had witnessed extraordinary change in residents’ lives.
She recalled one resident who Ms Pratt first met about 17 years ago. She lived alone, barely spoke to anyone and had difficulty caring for herself.
“Now she has a Certificate III qualification,” Ms Pratt said, “and she’s just enjoying life.”
With the latest addition HOME will have 20 permanent residents and Ms Pratt suggests it could conceivably add about eight more over the next few years.
In it’s eight years HOME has seen about 25 residents, it does not offer short term accommodation, but as the name suggests, gives residents a home.
The resident who will move into the new unit is yet to be finalised but Ms Pratt said the organisation had received five applications which were being seriously considered.
On the day of opening she received a further two calls from mothers who’s sons were in need of care.
This is the part of the job Ms Pratt says she struggles most with.
“It weighs heavily on you,” she said. “I know six people that could come in here, who do you choose?”
“You can’t save the world but what you can do, you can do well.”
The process to determine a new resident requires a number of referrals from medical professionals and family.
Staff will then gather more information before an application goes before the tenancy committee and finally the board.
The decisions are always difficult Ms Pratt says but they do their best to provide a home for the person in most need and assist those not selected with other avenues for support.
Ms Pratt said HOME was also actively helping other organisations around Australia to set up a similar system.
One thing she was certain of was HOME does not want to get too big.
“Otherwise you become an institution and that’s the last thing we want,” she said.
“We want to keep our culture.”