Horizon House helping Bunbury youth break homelessness cycle

A house, a haven, a home: Horizon House coordinator Susie Delaporte. Photo: Emily Sharp.
A house, a haven, a home: Horizon House coordinator Susie Delaporte. Photo: Emily Sharp.

A house which aims to prevent vulnerable young people aged 16 to 22 from entering the cycle of homelessness by providing stability has quietly been operating in Bunbury since 2007.

Horizon House has been a safe-haven for 19 young people in the past year alone.

Bunbury’s Horizon House coordinator Susie Delaporte said it was about breaking the cycle and preventing long-term homelessness. 

“Our carers work alongside our young people to help them achieve goals and skills to keep themselves safe and accommodated later in life,” she said.

“I like to think that this is like a family home, we have rules but we try to be flexible, we all care for one another, we try and create a culture where the young people are kind to one another.

"We’re getting young people right at the start of that journey so it doesn’t become entrenched - every story is different, every individual is different."

Ms Delaporte said there were several complex reasons why young people found themselves needing accommodation with a main driver being family and domestic violence. 

“I think that when the young people leave us, because they’re closer to reaching their own goals they’re better able to contribute to society at large,” she said.

“I really hope that people understand that homelessness in youth is a really complex issue and that these young people need the support of community and society, more widely.

“I hope that people can open their minds and give these young people opportunities.”

Horizon House WA manager Penny Bridges said the house was important because it provided a localised service to vulnerable and at-risk young people, which allowed them to remain connected with their community. 

“When a young person enters the program they move into their own bedroom in a family-style house with four peers and a qualified caregiver on-site 24/7 for up to a period of twelve months,” she said.

“Once they are ready, young people are able to transition through the program’s gradual, two-tier step-down process which sees them access regular support from our caregivers while living semi-independently.”