Wednesday, 5 February 2014

Rainbow Lodge at Glebe - an impressive organisation with impressive results

I recently visited Rainbow Lodge at Glebe and was so impressed with their work. Rainbow Lodge is a community based Supported Accommodation Program that assists long term prison inmates on their release from prison integrate back into the community.

Rainbow Lodge programs include: accommodation, case management, personal development planning sessions, on-site counselling, ongoing support for a period of 18-20 months and more.

The success rate of their programs over many years is just remarkable. They have fine-tuned their program so that it now provides the best possible specialist service to medium-high and high-risk males. When one looks at the recidivism rates in this state and you look at an organisation like Rainbow Lodge their achievements are astonishing.

In my inaugural speech to parliament shortly after my election I said:
"Rehabilitation is not just for the benefit of those incarcerated; it is also for the benefit of our society"

Rainbow Lodge is a community based organization that receives 90% of their funding from the Department of Corrective Services and 10% from the Department of Community Services. As a result of internal bureaucratic reorganization the funding from the Department of Community Services is seriously at risk. We are talking about an amount of $60,000. Failing to fund Rainbow Lodge for that amount will result in the organisation no longer being able to provide vital outreach services to the men who have left the lodge, the day programs which provide the men with a sense of purpose will have to be scrapped and dedicated staff will have to take pay cuts.

What is ironical, in actual fact is, if just one of the men who attend Rainbow Lodge slip through the cracks after they leave the Lodge and return to gaol because outreach services were unavailable, the cost of that one man’s presence in gaol will be greater than what Rainbow Lodge requires to maintain funding from the Department of Community Servces.

I have written to the minister and asked for her urgent intervention. It is organisations like Rainbow Lodge that quietly go about doing such great work and make such a significant contribution not just to the individuals they help, but the whole of society.


  1. Dear Mr Hoenig I am the mother of a son with a mental illness who has been in prison for the last 10 months. As I watched his life implode as his mental health deteriorated I desperately sought help from all manner of agencies and services. All to no avail till finally the inevitable happened and my son was arrested and imprisoned. I am still desperately seeking assistance for him as he is about to be released. Through his parole officer he has applied to Rainbow Lodge for accommodation and support. This placement would offer our family a small ray of hope on an otherwise bleak landscape. I find it distressing beyond words to read your post. On behalf of my son, my family and the community please fight to keep this facility functioning.

  2. Dear Mr Hoenig, I posted the above comment regarding the personal reasons for my dismay at the funding cuts to Rainbow Lodge. Since that post, my son was released into the community because there was no room for him at Rainbow Lodge. The support that has been offered to him is absolutely minimal. well meaning and overworked parole officers speak to him once a fortnight, and that's it. We, his family are stretched to the limit emotionally and financially trying to access services, mental health interventions, accommodation, positive social interactions and anything else that could assist my son get well and take his rightful place in society. When are govenments and the community going to realise that the cost to us all is so much greater if people are not genuinely rehabilitated and supported to become law abiding, tax paying citizens?????