In late November 2012, The Salvation Army’s Melbourne Project 614 launched the Urban Justice Centre – an exciting and innovative addition to a suite of progressive responses that Project 614 is making to homelessness.
Melbourne Project 614 delivers integrated services to the forgotten and voiceless people of Melbourne, those who are homeless, marginalised or living in poverty and those suffering from serious mental health issues.
The Urban Justice Centre is a legal service assisting clients of Project 614 and helping create pathways out of their state of social poverty. It provides a fully integrated legal service, delivering legal advice, advocacy and court and tribunal representation for clients of Project 614. Importantly, it is accessible because it is located at 69 Bourke Street as one of arange of services delivered under the one roof, including a psychologist, an early intervention homelessness programme, mental health nursing service, education, training and employment service and accommodation.
There are many reasons why people can become involved in legal proceedings:
- mental illness
- alcohol and other drug use
- stress; and
- social isolation.
Around 90% of 614’s clients have special, highly complex circumstances impacting their criminal behaviour. The Urban Justice Centre is vital in that its expertise and professionalism ensures that many are kept out of custody and are represented well.