A Brisbane inner-city drop-in centre for young homeless people has celebrated its 14th birthday with generous servings of cake all round.
Monday July 13, 2015
Red Cross runs the Night Café under Brisbane City Hall, providing free nutritious meals two nights a week, along with access to hot showers, free toiletries, clothes and blankets.
Around 50 young people aged between 12 and 25 turn up each night to Night Café, which services as a soft entry point into specialist help for those in need.
Red Cross Service Coordinator Charlotte Hodges says it's a safe place for young people to hang out with their peers and get a hot meal.
"It's filling a real need," she says. "They tell us they keep coming back because of the food, and because they get to hang out with their friends.
"They say it feels like home. They sit around the table and feel like equals. They don't have to be rough and tough street kids - they feel safe just being teenagers."
The Night Café also serves to ease young people into a wide range of support services they might need.
"Homelessness is just the tip of the iceberg. The young people often have complex needs, including disengagement from their family, mental and physical health issues, drug and alcohol problems."
Red Cross thanks Corporate partner The Cheesecake Shop for their continued support of the service, and for the huge birthday cake enjoyed by the young people, staff and volunteers.
Red Cross has operated the Night Café for 14 years in Brisbane as part of our work around the country with people experiencing homelessness. Each year Red Cross supports more than 4000 people facing homelessness.
Red Cross believes that everyone deserves a home that is safe, secure and affordable. Tonight, unfortunately, one in every 200 people living in Australia will not have a home that meets these standards.