29/11/2019 - 10:40

Ruah, MHLC announce merger

29/11/2019 - 10:40

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Ruah Community Services has announced it will merge with Mental Health Law Centre, providing WA's disadvantaged population with increased access to legal and community services.

Debra Zanella says the merger will allow Ruah to provide more practical, value-add services. Photo: Ruah Community Services

Ruah Community Services has announced it will merge with Mental Health Law Centre (MHLC), providing WA's disadvantaged population with increased access to legal and community services.

The companies, which are both located in the same offices in Subiaco, have coordinated to support each other's services since 2017, with Ruah chief executive Debra Zanella calling the merger a natural way forward for the two.

“The reality is that issues facing our clients are not bound by a topic or matter; they are interlinked and often inter-related, so the merger enables us to work more closely and more efficiently to provide more practical, value-add services,” said Ms Zanella.

“Other states across Australia have already undergone similar change and we are proud to pioneer this new service delivery model in Western Australia and capitalise on the synergies between our services.”

MHLC director and solicitor Shayla Strapps said that legal matters were often secondary to hardships like homelessness, with the merger allowing for the provision of holistic support and referrals for clients.

“For Ruah, having access to MHLC’s legal expertise can also make a huge difference in helping clients get advice to get their lives back on track,” she said.

“We already visit the Ruah Centre, which is a drop-in centre for people experiencing homelessness, and have seen the value even the most basic legal advice can add to a person’s health and life circumstances.”

Ruah has 263 staff and had total income last year of $24.2 million, making it the 21st largest charity in WA, according to the BNiQ database.

Both Ruah and MHLC will operate independently under their own names on cases where there is no service crossover.

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