COMMUNITY RECOGNITION STATEMENT - Maitland Samaritans Youth Accommodation

Since 2014 Samaritans Youth Accommodation Maitland has provided short-term housing for 12- to 15-year-olds in my community who are experiencing homelessness. The centre is a temporary home for around 40 vulnerable youths and the organisation aims to restore familial relationships so children can return home safely.

The 2016 census found that 17.6 per cent of the total homeless population in New South Wales, approximately 6,640 people, were under the age of 18. In October 2020 the Samaritans received a grant of $4,000 from Maitland City Council as part of its community development scheme to add Aboriginal murals to the site, which were completed in March. I note council has been funding a lot of these initiatives lately.

I thank Samaritans caseworker Jayme-Lee Woodhams for spearheading the initiative, as well as all of the staff at the Maitland site for helping make Aboriginal people feel more comfortable in their homes while they are going through difficult experiences. I welcome the Samaritans program of makeovers to ensure its Maitland base a culturally safe space for vulnerable Australian youth from Aboriginal and Torres Strait Island backgrounds.