The not-for-profit Madalah organisation in Western Australia has been granted a new five-year contract to run its Broome accommodation facility, Nyirrwa Murrgurlayi, which provides a home-away-from-home for people studying and training in the Kimberley town.
Representatives from the Department of Prime Minister and Cabinet recently visited the facility and were given a tour of its operations.
Jennifer Hall, Madalah’s employment-accommodation manager, said rather than just providing hostel-style accommodation, the organisation was focused on giving students and trainees support to succeed.
She said traditional employment-related accommodation facilities had a history of providing limited support, but WA facilities were now moving to models similar to Madalah’s.
“You get a bit of live-in support — we’ll get you to and from your job — and then we went ‘that’s not enough’,” she said.
“You’re going to lose people, so we upped the ante on the support work.
“We call it immersion support because our staff live with the residents 24 hours.
“We’re immersed in their lives and they are immersed in ours and we know exactly what’s going on – when they are running into a dip, or a concern, or not complying with the employer’s needs or getting pressure from home.
“You can see it really early and then we can work with them to build their skills to deal with whatever the issue might be.”
Ms Hall said the new contract with the WA Housing Authority, for Employment and Education Housing, would come into effect on January 1.
Madalah can accommodate up to 12 people over the age of 16 at its Bagot Street property where it helps residents with life skills and planning.
Ms Hall said the new contract would mean security for those living at the facility as they continued with their study or training. She said it could allow Madalah to expand its services in the future.
For the first time, Madalah will also take up to 30 percent non-Indigenous trainees and students. Long-term residents will get their own rooms and no longer have to share while Madalah will continue to accept short-term residents.
“Because we now have a contract for the next five years, we will be able to see clear outcomes of people completing courses,” Ms Hall said.
“They will finish their traineeships and move into fulltime employment. The other thing is because we have five years it enables expansion of this program…. because it’s unique.”