One of the first things Customer Engagement Consultant Richard Hart did in his first week at Jobfind was to reach out to Wollongong Homeless Hub to introduce the organisation’s services and find out how Jobfind could help the local homeless population.
The Wollongong Homeless Hub, a stream of the Wollongong Emergency Family Housing, provides allied services referrals for people sleeping rough, homeless, and those in private accommodation but are financially challenged.
CEO Mandy Booker was uncertain of the benefits Richard could bring to the Hub. But, after he explained that he focused on assisting people with physical and mental health issues, he was invited to attend breakfast to meet their service users.
Richard became a low-key presence attending every week, chatting to clients about any issues with Centrelink and providing information. The relationship grew, and Richard became a trusted presence providing the Hub staff with details about Jobfind, and support workers started to refer clients who needed assistance.
Richard is pleased with how the relationship with the Hub has flourished.
“Four years later, I continue to attend the weekly breakfast at the service. It’s a privilege to be trusted by the staff and those that attend the service. Other employment services have reached out to the Hub, but they continue to work with Jobfind exclusively.”
In addition, Jobfind continues to host free events for the Hub staff and clients, including BBQs and morning teas. Richard simply chats to those that attend to see how Jobfind can support them with employment. He also takes the opportunity to acknowledge the staff and the work they do with the most vulnerable in the community.
Another positive that has come out of the partnership with the Hub is being the trusted employment service when they have a job vacancy to fill.
One of the ways Jobfind assists the Hub
Sarah* was on the Work for the Dole program as a cleaner at the Homeless Hub through another provider. The Hub CEO suspected Sarah had some mental health issues and asked Richard if he’d have a chat with her.
Richard talked her through the process of requesting reclassification through ESAT, and she came to Jobfind as a Disability Employment Service (DES) client. Three days later, Richard had facilitated a wage subsidy for her as an employee to enable Sarah to do the same work as she was doing in her Work for the Dole program, but now as a paid employee. In addition, Richard accessed funds to purchase PPE gear and travel vouchers to assist with employment costs.
John* is a mature-age person living at The Homeless Hub. He had been unemployed for a very long time. To assist him back into the workforce, Richard facilitated the study of a Certificate III in Supply Chain Operations through Angus Knight Institute Dapto. He was attending two days a week pre-COVID, and when his study is finished, he will gain formal qualifications in warehouse work.
* Names changed to protect privacy