Mr Cox left the Centre last month and is now driving the State Government’s reforms to improve homelessness services in SA as head of Homelessness Sector Integration.
During his 25 years at the Hutt St Centre, Mr Cox played a key role in establishing and running the Adelaide Zero Project, an innovative functional zero approach to ending homelessness in Adelaide, and was instrumental in bringing world-renowned expert Dame Louise Casey from the Institute for Global Homelessness to South Australia.
He also led the Aspire Project, the first program in South Australia to be funded by a social impact bond, which focuses on a ‘housing first’ intervention model that gives participants stable accommodation as well as access to education and training to help them get a job and maintain employment. Now in its second year of operation, the program has seen 297 participants enrolled.
But it was the heartbreaking stories about homelessness that he has heard “each and every day” that Mr Cox remembered when he bid farewell to staff, clients and supporters of the place established by the Daughters of Charity in 1954.
“Each morning when the Centre opens, there are many people in need of a meal, a hot shower, looking for help to secure accommodation, or access to training, education and employment opportunities – and some simply need someone to listen,” he said.
“For those experiencing it, homelessness can happen quickly and without warning.
“That’s why services like Hutt St Centre remain so important.”
Mr Cox said working at Hutt St Centre had been the “greatest privilege and honour” in his professional life.
“Every day I have had the opportunity to live and breathe the values of the organisation, get to talk daily with the very people we are working with – they have inspired me to achieve the very best outcomes possible and I have witnessed so many people over my time here go on and achieve great things with their own lives.”
Confident that he was leaving the Centre in good hands, Mr Cox said he looked forward to seeing it continue to grow and develop through the staff’s input and expertise.
And he thanked “every single one of our supporters who has stood with us, walked with us and most importantly cared about homelessness, whether or not it directly affects them”.
“Thank you from the bottom of my heart. It has been a pleasure to get to know so many of you personally over the years.
“Please know that thanks to your support, so many lives have been rebuilt through Hutt St Centre.”
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