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.
Fourteen purpose-built apartments in Mitchelton today offer safe and supported accommodation to people living with a severe or enduring mental illness, thanks to a partnership between not-for-profit charity Mantle Housing, Wesley Mission Queensland and a group of parents.
QUT Executive Dean of Health Professor Ross Young, who is also chair of the board of Mantle Housing, described Clear Breeze Apartments, named by its residents, as an unparalleled success.
“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.”
A number of QUT staff and alumni are involved as active board members, and social work students from the Faculty of Health participate through integrated learning placements.
Professor Young was introduced to Mantle Housing by graduate Mickael Blanc, who helped develop a business plan for the project as part of his MBA.
“In many different areas QUT is involved,” Professor Young said.
“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,” he said.
“The lives of vulnerable individuals living with persistent and enduring mental illness, are undermined by a lack of consistent, coordinated and ongoing support.
“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.”
Professor Young said one of the successes of the project came from encouraging the residents to be involved in the design of the apartments, which incorporate high standards of sound-proofing, providing a sense of tranquility for residents.
To support Mantle Housing through donations, or for more information visit www.mantle.org.au