Governor-General, His Excellency General the Honourable Sir Peter Cosgrove AK MC (Retd) and Lynne Cosgrove (middle), CEO of RSL Life Care Ron Thompson (second from the right), Manager for Homes for Heroes Adrian Talbot (left hand corner with wife Emily and children Eliza, Sophie and baby Jean).
They have put their lives on the line protecting Australia but ex-service personnel are finding it hard to be back home with more than 3,000 homeless and/or suffering from Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD).
Homes for Heroes, an accommodation program in Narrabeen run by RSL Lifecare who recently received a $3,000 donation from The Lakemba Club, addresses this need by providing permanent and temporary housing to ex-servicemen and women, and their families.
“We are currently housing 32 young veterans and 14 Vietnam veterans. We provide a housing first approach and then provide wraparound services to the individual once they have settled into their new environment,” said Adrian Talbot, Manager at Homes for Heroes.
“We have found homelessness comes with many facets of negative behaviours. The initial stage of recovery is conducted at Narrabeen. When an individual gets to a point of their recovery where they are ready to transition, we then refer them to our centre in Penrith. Penrith is set up as a transitional centre that deals with training, education, job ready programs and work placements. We can then facilitate a referral to FACS (Family and Community Services) so they can establish themselves in the community in their own home.”
The idea to support Homes for Heroes was first brought up by the committee of the Lakemba Services Social Club who felt the issue struck a chord deep within their core values. The Lakemba Club works closely with members of the Social Club and the Lakemba RSL Sub-Branch to forward community programs that will have a positive impact on the ex-service personnel of the Lakemba area and surrounds.
“There is a huge need for support of our ex-service personnel. Many of our current members have related stories of relatives coming home from war and suffering from many of the same debilitating symptoms,” said Rob Smith, Secretary of the Lakemba Sub-Branch.
“We need to take care of our returned ex-service personnel just as they have protected the country and taken care of us. The nation owes them plenty for putting their lives at risk and it is important to provide them with secure housing and comprehensive rehabilitation service while they get back on their feet,” said Dr George Peponis OAM, Chairman of the Canterbury group.