We are a registered Christian charity based in Macleod in Victoria, Australia serving the community since 1971 with a wide range of programs and club type offerings based on a friendship model.
The team at Open House is deeply and proudly committed to a friendship based model, with outreach to old, young, disadvantaged, disabled and lonely people left behind, unwanted, unloved, or forgotten by society. For all these people we are “A place to belong," For many participants in our programs, we are their family.
Much of our work is with disadvantaged youth from low socio-economic circumstances. Our early involvement in their lives helps them re-engage and stay on the straight and narrow. We help prevent them, through our offers of friendship, one on one mentoring, and role modelling, from taking troublesome paths that might otherwise lead to detention, suicide, violence, unemployment, teen pregnancy, drug dependency, or other serious consequences.
Multiple participants come back, sometimes decades later, to say Open House literally saved their or their loved ones' lives.
We serve people of all ages from babies or young children and their caregivers, through to older Australians via our friendly club-like activity groups and meals.
Open House receives some funding from the government but our work is largely made possible by donations from generous individuals, organisations and sponsors. They are our lifeline.
Our non-judgmental, accepting of all, friendship model makes Open House attractive participants. For many we are their last chance only hope.
The personal impact for participants, as well as financial savings for society of our programs, is huge. For example, the annual cost of keeping just one youth in detention is over $235,000. Just one person saved through our youth workshop program gives a "positive rate of return" to society.
Similarly the social and economic cost to society of teenage pregnancy or drug use is high. Our joy is saving and making lives!
For old or lonely people we are often their only friends or “family” are here at Open House. We feel particular joy at being there for these people.
“I love the people who come to Open House and I love the feeling of really helping people,” say Val Armit, who has been a volunteer at Open House for twenty years, following eight years of service at another Christian Charity in Ivanhoe. “Many of our participants are isolated, with no one to talk to when they are worried or excited about something. We are there for them to talk to, it’s like a family.”