Lighthouse project’s new abode

THE St John of God Foundation’s Lighthouse project will open its second house in Western Australia this week.

The house in Wanneroo will provide long-term accommodation, care and support for homeless people between the ages of 16 and 22.

The project’s first WA house was opened in the southern suburb of Wilson in January 2003.

Financial backers of the Lighthouse project are led by Jack and Eleanor Bendat, who have pledged $2 million over four years.

Major sponsors include Homeswest, which donated the Wilson house and outfitted the Wanneroo house, and Lotterywest.

Other sponsors comprise Allens Arthur Robinson, the American Chamber of Commerce in Australia, Mike Board Charity Golf Day, Rotary Club of Matilda Bay, St Vincent De Paul Society, Salitage Wines, Jako Industries and Rafferty’s art gallery.

The Wanneroo house was gifted to the Foundation by the Servite Friars and was formerly a Servite priory for St Anthony’s church.

The person who brought together the Servite Friars and the Lighthouse project was West Perth accountant Keith Johns, who is chairman of the Wanneroo house committee.

Mr Johns said his involvement stemmed from being able to assist homeless children.

“It’s all about helping the kids get back into the mainstream community,” Mr Johns said.

“It’s focused on the kids and is very direct.

“You arrange a house, you have a carer and the kids go in. It’s a very tangible benefit.”

The Governor of Western Australia Lt. General John Sanderson AC will officially open the Wanneroo house on 4th December.

The original St John of God Lighthouse was established in Geelong, Victoria and has been fully operational since August 1999. 

Former stockbroker and company director David Reed chaired the committee for the second house in Wilson.

Mr Johns said the foundation was seeking to open further houses in Bunbury and Geraldton.

The aim of the Lighthouse project is to reintegrate ‘at risk’ youth back into the community by providing a supportive and caring family environment.

It provides long-term housing, care and intensive support, with each house having a full time carer.

The residents may come from a background of abuse and may have general health problems, drug and alcohol addiction, chronic unemployment, limited education and poor social skills.

In many cases they have suffered the effects of disruption in families, accommodation and schooling. 

Each young person is nurtured and encouraged to realise their aspirations, with the aim being their eventual fully independent re-integration back into mainstream society.

When appropriate, every effort is made to maintain or reconcile relationships with their families.

The residents of each house are required to make contractual commitments to try and foster a positive outcome.

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