ANNUAL REPORT 2014-15
The Information, Referral and Assessment Service, known as IRAS, is YFS’ main point of contact for enquiries and referrals.
IRAS Coordinator Anita Weir and her team enjoy the variety that brings.
“We’re a drop-in service, so we can’t plan our day – we deal with whatever issues people come with,” she says.
“Our clients are people who for some reason have come into difficult times. They might have lost a job, had health problems or their relationship might have broken down.”
“We’re basically a drop-in service for people in crisis. We help each person work out what’s going on, what their options are, and what their next step might be."
Anita quotes YFS’ position statement on Independence and Citizenship, which says: 'We deliver services and take part in events to promote access to information that allows people to make well-informed decisions; we do so because we believe being well-informed contributes to people being independent and participating citizens'.
“That sums up what we do in IRAS. We give people lots of information so they can make good decisions.”
Almost 60% of the 8,887 contacts with IRAS in 2014-15 related to homelessness or tenancy issues. Anita says she has noticed a big increase in requests for help with homelessness over the four and a half years she’s worked in IRAS.
“It is very challenging for us to find solutions for people who are homeless, especially if they want to stay in the Logan area where there isn’t any crisis accommodation. It’s even harder for families.”
Anita says she is looking forward to the return of tenancy advice services at YFS in 2015-16. Tenants Queensland will provide services at YFS from October 2015, working with IRAS to provide seamless services for tenants.
She says IRAS staff and clients really missed having access to tenancy experts since the funding was cut for the tenant advice service. While IRAS staff continued to provide information and emergency relief to tenants facing eviction, they were unable to help people in complex situations.
“I don’t know any other service like us. Even if we don’t have the answer, there’s always someone to talk to. Often people just want someone to listen to their story.”
“My team is wonderful. I have a lot of respect for them. To be a good IRAS worker, you need to be a good listener, build rapport quickly and have good problem solving skills – we’re solving problems all the time.”
“I enjoy working at YFS:
I like what we stand for; I like working in Logan and I think we offer really good services.”
YFS is funded by the Australian Government and the Queensland Government.
YFS acknowledges Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people are Australia's First Peoples and the traditional owners and custodians of the land on which we meet and work.