QUT staff, students and alumni have thrown their support behind a housing project that is changing the lives of people with mental illness by providing a roof over their head and a care plan that is giving them back their independence.
Thanks to a partnership between Mantle Housing a not-for profit charity where QUT Executive Dean of Health Professor Ross Young is chairman of the Board, Wesley Mission Queensland and a group of parents, today 14 purpose built apartments in Mitchelton offer safe and supported accommodation to people living with a severe or enduring mental illness.
Professor Young described Clear Breeze Apartments, named by its residents, as an unparalleled success that is encouraging independence and offering residents an opportunity to live the life they want to live.
“This project started because a group of parents asked the question, ‘what will happen to my child when I am gone?’, and the answer frightened them,” Professor Young said.
“There is a significant unmet need for high quality community-based housing for people with mental illness in this country.”
One of the big successes of the project came from encouraging the residents to be involved in the design of where they were going to live.
The apartments incorporate high standards of sound-proofing rarely seen in a residential building, providing a sense of tranquility for residents.
As well as Professor Young’s involvement in Mantle Housing, QUT is well represented in both active board members that include staff and alumni, as well as student involvement through a joint initiative with QUT’s Faculty of Health offering integrated learning placements for social work students
Professor Young was introduced to Mantle Housing by a QUT graduate Mickael Blanc, who as part of his MBA helped with the development of a business plan for the project.
“In many different areas QUT is involved. It’s a grassroots movement and it’s real, it hasn’t been created by academia, we are providing the expertise but we are also advocating on behalf of the residents.”
As a model of community-based housing, Professor Young said Clear Breeze Apartments was on its way to success.
“The lives of vulnerable individuals living with persistent and enduring mental illness, is undermined by a lack of consistent, coordinated and ongoing support,” he said.
“When it comes to the dollars and cents, it makes sense to invest in a care model which encourages people with a mental illness to go forward and flourish and live independent lives with dignity.”