Odyssey House Victoria has been successful in attracting Victorian government funding for several new projects through the Working for Victoria initiative. This $500m fund was established to help people who have lost their jobs as a result of COVID-19 find paid work with organisations who need their skills.
As an essential service, Odyssey has been as busy as ever at the front line of community responses to the pandemic, and we have had to find new ways of safely delivering services to clients. Emerging data shows increasing Alcohol and Other Drug (AOD) use and mental health issues in our community, and confirms that young people and families are especially vulnerable to these and other wellbeing issues that have emerged or been exacerbated during COVID-19.
The Working for Victoria funding has enabled us to employ two Youth Wellbeing Support workers whose role is to support some hard-to-reach young people, particularly those who identify as culturally and linguistically diverse, LGBTQI, or Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander. Other projects focus on ‘back-of-house’ areas to support and streamline Odyssey’s operations that will improve our efficiency, enable remote client and staff training and support and help ensure business continuity. They include several roles across our HR, training and record management areas.
While these projects have immediate benefits, they also build the longer-term capacity of Odyssey to respond to emerging needs of clients, staff and the broader community as they arise.