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Perth-based Indigenous corporation increases youth crisis accommodation capacity after ILSC support

Brendan Foster -

A First Nations organisation that provides accommodation for at-risk youth has moved into new digs on Whadjuk Noongar Country in Perth thanks to $1.7 million in funding from the Indigenous Land and Sea Corporation.

Ebenezer Aboriginal Corporation's new HQ in the northern suburb of Malaga will allow the not-for-profit organisation to offer up more services for youths and provide more space for the most vulnerable in the community.

Ebenezer, which has provided accommodation and assistance to homeless youth for more than 50 years, currently provides services to 500-700 clients each year.

More than 60 per cent of the homeless people seeking crisis accommodation at Ebenezer are Indigenous.

The new fit-for-purpose head office also means Ebenezer can boost its staff from 37 to 47 and offer more employment opportunities for First Nations peoples through various traineeships.

The corporation recently expanded its operations to include transitional facilities, vocational employment programs, in-home support, youth crime prevention as well as an employment program for ex-prisoners in Perth's northern suburbs.

Ebenezer also provides family and domestic violence support to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples, including men's domestic violence service, Men Supporting Men, and women's domestic violence service, Naala Bjookan.

Ebenezer Aboriginal Corporation chief executive, Martin Smith, said the new office would create an atmosphere of growth and development in the community and across the sector.

"With the number of programs available, it's important for our staff, clients and community members to have a culturally safe place to access support, have a yarn and share their stories," he said.

"Over the years, Ebenezer has had a significant impact at a community level.

"In 2022, we received the NAIDOC community award for Mirrabooka recognising our work. We provide hope, inspiration, and assistance to clients to work through their pain, break destructive cycles and focus on the future.

"We are extremely thankful for the ILSC's support, who have ensured we have the resources and support to move forward as an organisation."

Indigenous Land and Sea Corporation Group chief executive, Joe Morrison, said the new facilities would provide a space for local Indigenous youths to learn and experience the Noongar culture.

"The centre will provide great benefits, not only to Indigenous youths in Perth's northern suburbs but the wider Indigenous community for generations to come," Mr Morrison said.

"The projected increase in the number of clients Ebenezer will be able to service is vital for our First Nations peoples. "The ILSC is proud to partner with Ebenezer and see their aspirations come to life while raising the profile of Indigenous culture within the community, and wider Perth".

The new Ebenezer Aboriginal Corporation head office is located at 3 Exhibition Drive, Malaga.

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