Uniting Services at the NJC


The Neighbourhood Justice Centre has partnered with one of Australia’s largest social services providers to support Yarra residents living with a disability to find and keep meaningful employment.  

Uniting Services now operates its Yarra-based Disability Employment Services at the NJC to help Yarra residents who have a permanent medical condition, mental illness, injury, or disability onto the jobs ladder.

The service attends to each client’s needs, such as housing, counselling, or other specialist requirements, and works to help clients into education programs, voluntary work, or ideally, paid work.

At a broader level, the partnership illustrates NJC’s commitment to, and flexibility for, keeping important services in the community.

In this instance, the NJC stepped in to retain this important service in Yarra when Uniting made the difficult decision to leave the area, another victim of the pressures Covid has put on organisations large and small.  

The partnership took shape with little to no red tape. All the NJC required was an Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) to provide desk space for Uniting to pick up where it left off when it shut its Collingwood office. This approach minimised any interruption to critical services for Uniting’s Yarra-based clients.

Uniting now works alongside, among others, Berry Street, St Vincent’s Mental Health, Launch Housing, No to Violence, CoHealth, and NEIMI under the NJC’s inter-agency, interdisciplinary approach to holistic support.

Of course, the primary benefactors of this partnership are the clients and the community.

People with disability are twice as likely to be unemployed as those without disability. That is, an unemployment rate of 10% versus 5% respectively.

In fact, 93 per cent of working-aged people living with disability face considerably difficulty finding work and disability can compound loneliness, isolation, and mental anguish according to the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare.

Given these statistics, the NJC is pleased to support a service that improves people’s individual agency, social ties, and independence. 

People with cognitive and or psychosocial disability are an overrepresented among those charged with offences, especially First Nations people where racism intersects with abelism. As such, and while early days, it's anticipated that lawyers and Corrections will refer clients to this service.

Keeping valuable services in the local community something NJC is committed to and a job the NJC’s model does with ease.

For more information about this service contacted the NJC on 9948 8777.