Local support assists young people with study and skills

February 18, 2019

Veritas House has received $1,500 from the Findex Community Fund, the charitable organisation of Crowe Horwath Bathurst’s parent company, Findex.

Veritas has earmarked the $1,500 donation, combined with additional support received from businesses and the community, to establish a Veritas House Education and Employment Fund. Veritas will invest the funds, with the income earned annually used to support young people in the local region to pursue their vocational ambitions.

“Ensuring that young people have the resources to start school or an apprenticeship can be a financially challenging time for any young person, but this is particularly difficult for young people who are experiencing homelessness or have transitioned into independent living,” said Veritas House CEO, Jody Pearce.

“Many of the young people we work with are overcoming some major obstacles and at the same time trying to continue their education or enter the workforce. These funds will help them purchase a laptop, textbooks or work boots for an apprenticeship and will hopefully ensure that costs such as these are not a barrier to them continuing their educational and employment aspirations,” she said.

Commenting on the donation, Findex Community Fund Director, Danielle Maxwell stated: “Veritas is one of the great support networks within Bathurst and we’re proud to be able to support their work with at-risk members of the community. The FCF will continue to support great organisations like Veritas to provide a genuine positive impact on local regional communities.”

With a goal to create equal access to opportunity for people isolated by location or circumstance, the Findex Community Fund focuses on funding programs which are regionally relevant, nationally impactful and globally scalable across Health, Education and Entrepreneurship. Findex, owner of Crowe Horwath in Australia and New Zealand, is Australia’s largest privately-owned financial advisory firm, with more than 110 offices across the network.

If you would like to make a tax-deductible donation towards the Veritas Education and Employment Fund, visit: https://veritashouse.org.au/support/donate/

Newcastle Permanent Charitable Foundation grant announced

December 14, 2018

The Newcastle Permanent Charitable Foundation has announced a $50,000 grant to Veritas House to renovate a one-bedroom Transitional Youth Housing flat in Bathurst which supports young people transitioning from homelessness to independent living.

The grant is the biggest single grant, outside of government funding, that Veritas has ever received, and according to Veritas House CEO, Jody Pearce will make a significant difference to the lives of local young people for years to come.

“For many young people experiencing homelessness that stay at the youth refuge and who cannot return safely to their homes, it can be difficult to secure a lease in the private rental market with no prior rental history and limited finances. Veritas owns a one-bedroom flat which we operate as a transitional youth housing property, leasing the property at below market rent to young people who are transitioning from homelessness to independence; and our case workers support them over a 3-6 month period to obtain furnishings, secure ongoing income, learn budgeting and tenancy management skills and develop a rental history. At the end of their lease we provide a reference and advocate and support them to secure long-term private rental accommodation,” explained Jody.

“Unfortunately, the rent generated does not always cover costs and, as a result, we have no funds to undertake long-overdue improvements, including replacing the kitchen and bathroom, painting and new carpet. The grant from Newcastle Permanent Charitable Foundation will allow us to undertake these works and ensure young people can take pride in and maintain the property well into the future,” she said.

The grant was part of more than $230,000 in funding announced last week by Newcastle Permanent Charitable Foundation for community projects, initiatives and programs in the Central West region.

“The Charitable Foundation provides financial support to enable the critical work of community organisations that have initiatives and projects which may fall outside other funding avenues, but are still exceptionally important as they will improve the lives of marginalised members of our regional communities,” said Charitable Foundation Chair, Phil Neat.

The renovations are set to commence at the Veritas Transitional Youth Housing property in January and it is hoped will be completed in time for a new tenant to move into the revamped flat by the end of February.

The Newcastle Permanent Charitable Foundation distributes more than $1.5 million in grants each year to facilitate charitable projects that address disadvantage in local communities throughout the Hunter, Central West, Central Coast, New England, Mid North Coast and Northern Rivers regions of NSW. Since its establishment in 2003, the Foundation has provided more than $19.1 million to 448 community initiatives.

Veritas launches Christmas Giving Tree

December 5, 2018

Around 100 local children and young people will spend this Christmas in Foster Care and at youth refuges and Veritas House is calling on local residents and business to help bring some Christmas cheer to these special young people.

Veritas has set up Christmas Giving Trees at their offices at 106 Russell Street, Bathurst; 29 Sale Street, Orange; and at the Chiropractic Health and Wellness Centre at 184 William Street, Bathurst; and is calling on local residents to embrace the spirit of giving and purchase a gift for a child or young person supported by Veritas. Each tree has on display gift tags that contain the Christmas wishlist for each child, a pseudonym name and their age, and local residents simply select a tag and bring it back with their wrapped or unwrapped gift.

More than 80 local children and young people ranging in age from newborns to 18 will spend this Christmas in Foster Care and Veritas is hopeful local residents and businesses will help bring some Christmas cheer to these special children.

“Children and young people enter into foster care for a myriad of reasons, but generally they have experienced a degree of trauma, neglect and abuse that required intervention and removal for their own safety and well-being,” explained Veritas House CEO, Jody Pearce. “Veritas House Foster Carers in Bathurst and Orange provide a secure, safe and supportive home environment to these children and young people, but there is no doubt that Christmas can still be a tough time.

“We are hoping local residents and businesses will assist us to bring some joy into the lives of these special children this Christmas by placing a gift under one of our three local trees, so that we can make our annual Christmas Party on December 20 a special day the children and our carers will truly remember,” she said.

Veritas is also hoping local residents and businesses who are unable to provide a gift will consider contributing goods or providing a donation.

“We are hoping to make Christmas special for local young people who are experiencing homelessness by preparing a special Christmas lunch and dinner for the young people and staff staying at our youth refuges in Orange and Bathurst; and we also hope to fund ‘excursions’ to the beach, the Zoo or the Bathurst water park at Ben Chifley Dam, so that a time that can be pretty tough can be made happy and memorable,” said Jody.

Tax deductible donations over $2 can be made through PayPal by clicking here: www.veritashouse.org.au or by contacting Narelle Stocks on 1300 01 1973.

Local Foster Carers recognised for work with children and young people

September 11, 2018
2018 Deb Elsley Award for Foster Carer of the Year

Local Foster Carers, Deb and Gerry Green were today announced recipients of the Deb Elsley Memorial Award by Veritas House as part of their Foster Care Week celebrations.

The award acknowledges the significant contribution that Deb and Gerry have made in providing a safe and supportive home environment to more than 13 children and young people over the past five years, and assisting them to grow and develop in a happy and healthy way.

Loving, warm and accepting carers, Deb and Gerry ensure that every child that comes into their care feels included as part of their family. As described by a young person who was placed in their care, “They make you feel part of the family and make you feel welcome.”

According to Veritas Case Worker, Kate Miller, Deb and Gerry work hard to understand the circumstances that lead to children coming into their care, have nurtured positive relationships with birth families, and enhance and nurture each child’s sense of belonging and identity.

“Deb and Gerry understand the uniqueness of every child that has been welcomed through their door. They understand the need to provide Therapeutic Care and are thoroughly deserving of this award,” said Kate.

Deb and Gerry started their caring role as emergency respite carers and say they never went into the role for the long term.

“We didn’t foster to have another family, we just wanted to help,” explained Deb. “We never went into it for the longer term, but we could see the change we were making in their lives and that’s how it evolved.

“It is such a rewarding, life changing experience and you get to work with a great team. Our whole family it is devoted to being carers, and with the support of our daughters we have the mentality that it takes a village to raise a child and I would encourage other people to consider becoming carers and experience how special it is for themselves.”

The Award was presented at the Veritas House Foster Care Week Awards ceremony and also saw five Foster Carers presented with 10 and 20 year service awards acknowledging their dedication and contribution to children and young people. The final event for the week will be a Foster Care information session at the Veritas offices at 106-108 Russell Street office on Thursday, 13 September commencing at 5.30pm.

The number of children and young people entering Out of Home Care in NSW has grown from 10,000 in 2006 to 18,000 in 2016 and Veritas is hopeful that local residents will attend the information session and consider becoming carers to help address the growing need. A wide range of Carers are required including respite – which can be as little as a weekend a month; emergency; long term; extended family or kin; guardianship and adoptive parents.

For more information or to register to attend the Foster Care information session, contact Bridget Tracy on (02) 6332 3882.

Kenny Spring Solicitors' ‘Winter Wills’ campaign supports Veritas

July 3, 2018
Narelle Stocks (L) and Sharon Jones (second from right) from Veritas House; and Angus Edwards (second from left) and Peter McManus (R) from Kenny Spring Solicitors.

Kenny Spring Solicitors in Bathurst and Oberon has announced that for the month of July, 10% of fees generated from any new and existing Wills, Power of Attorney or Enduring Guardian drafted at Kenny Spring will be donated to Veritas House.

All families know the financial hardship that can come from ensuring children and young people have the resources they need to commence a new school year, but this is particularly difficult for young people who are experiencing homelessness or who have transitioned into independent living and should not be a barrier to them continuing their educational pursuits.

The funds raised will allow Veritas to be able to assist clients being supported by Veritas’ Specialist Homelessness Services through the purchase of winter and summer school uniforms, school bags, stationery, lunchboxes, drink bottles, books and other school supplies.

If you are like around half of all people who don’t have a Will and need one drafted, or need an existing Will updated, speak to the Wills and Estates Team at Kenny Spring during the month of July by calling Peter McManus or Alice Cheek on 02 6331 2911.

Return and Earn in support of Veritas

May 28, 2018

Bathurst residents committed to doing their bit for the environment now also have an added incentive, with the opportunity to support the youth services delivered by Veritas House.

Between now and August 26, people who take their recyclable bottles and cans to the Return and Earn site at the Kelso Op Shop in Lions Drive can elect to click the ‘donate’ button, and instead of receiving a voucher will make a tax deductible donation to Veritas House for all donations over $2.

Most glass, plastic, aluminium, steel and liquid paperboard cartons can be recycled, so it is a great opportunity to not only make a difference to the local environment, but to support a community-based not-for-profit organisation. Veritas House was established in Bathurst 35 years ago and has grown to become one of the largest providers of Foster Care and youth homelessness services in the region, supporting more than 600 children, young people and families each year.

Return and Earn is a litter reduction initiative from the NSW Government, providing a 10 cent refund on all eligible drink containers. For more information on the program visit: http://returnandearn.org.au/

Youth Homelessness Matters

April 18, 2018

Today, 18 April is national ‘Youth Homelessness Matters Day’ (YHMD) and local organisation, Veritas House is calling on residents to mark the occasion by recognising that youth homelessness occurs in regional communities like Orange.

More than 28,000 young Australians aged 12-25 are experiencing homelessness every night and ABS data released last month identified 42% of the national homelessness population is under 25 years of age. Significantly, the ABS data revealed youth homelessness in NSW has increased by an alarming 92% since 2011, impacting services like Veritas who assist 150-200 young people in Orange each year.

According to Veritas House CEO, Jody Pearce, in most instances, young people do not have a home because they are escaping conflict and violence.

“A common misconception is that young people leave home because they want to or because they want more freedom to live without rules and restrictions, but we know that this is simply not true for the vast majority of local young people we have supported over the past 35 years,” said Jody.

“Some 70% of young people experiencing homelessness are escaping a negative home environment, which often includes an abusive, violent or broken home and most are hidden from view through couch surfing and sleeping in cars, so it is easy to assume it doesn’t exist in a town like Orange, but that is not the case,” she explained.

In order to ensure local young people experiencing homelessness have easy access to services that can assist them to get back on their feet, Veritas House has recently relocated to the former Blockbuster site in Sale Street and is currently recruiting four staff positions to enhance the supports available locally.

“Two of our residential youth workers have moved into new roles within Veritas, our Acting Team Leader is preparing for maternity leave and we are recruiting a receptionist, so we have some exciting opportunities for local, qualified workers to join our team and help us ensure local youth can receive the assistance they need,” said Jody.

Ms Pearce believes YHMD is an opportunity to become aware of how to support a young person who is experiencing homelessness.

“Youth homelessness needs a strategic approach at a national level to ensure we can support young people at every stage, from early intervention to crisis support. However, at a local level, we’re encouraging local residents to make themselves aware of local services like Veritas, so that any young person experiencing or at risk of homelessness can be connected to the services and supports they need.”

If you or someone you know needs assistance or advice on options, contact Veritas House on 6361 8099 during business hours or 0417 657 232 after hours; or Link2Home on 1800 152 152.

Veritas House is a not-for-profit organisation that was established in the Central West more than 35 years ago and has grown to become one of the largest providers of youth homelessness and foster care services in the region, supporting more than 600 children and young people in Orange and Bathurst each year.  #YHMD2018

Veritas expands youth homelessness services

January 11, 2018

Veritas House has been announced successful in its tender to deliver a new youth homelessness program funded by Family and Community Services (FACS) which will extend across Western NSW.

The Premier’s Youth Initiative (PYI) aims to prevent homelessness among young people leaving out-of-home care by providing personal advice, education and employment mentoring and transitional accommodation supports. Veritas was successful in its tender for the new program in a consortium partnership with local education and employment provider, Skillset, and with youth specialist housing provider, My Foundations Youth Housing.

“Veritas has been supporting homeless youth in our region for more than 30 years, and children and young people in out-of-home care since 2013, so we know the challenges faced by young people leaving care and how critical it is to establish independent living skills, networks and access to housing, in order to prevent youth from becoming homeless,” said Veritas House CEO, Jody Pearce.

“We are also excited about the opportunity to partner with Skillset, who has more than 35 years’ experience in achieving educational, training and employment outcomes for young people in the region; and to bring a new community housing provider to Western NSW who has experience delivering the PYI program in other areas of NSW, as is the case with My Foundations Youth Housing,” she said.

The program will be good news for the local region, with the creation of at least nine new employment opportunities in Orange, Bathurst and Dubbo, along with the establishment of a new Veritas House service site in Dubbo and expansion to a significantly larger site in the former Blockbuster site at Sale Street in Orange.

“Veritas’ growth over the past few years, combined with our success in the PYI tender is a result of the commitment of our staff towards ending the cycle of homelessness and working in the best interests of children and young people in out-of-home care,” said Jody.

“Our staff and consortium partners are excited about the opportunity to lead this pilot project in Western NSW and confident that the outcomes achieved over the next three years will demonstrate the need for this program throughout NSW, and see it continue into the future.”