The origins of Jesuit Social Services are in the work of Peter Norden SJ in the late 1970s. In January 1977, Norden established a hostel for young offenders in Hawthorn. This grew into what became known as the Brosnan Centre, named after the long-serving chaplain at Pentridge Prison, Fr John Brosnan.
In December 1976 ‘Four Apartments Hawthorn Limited’ was registered as a company. In January 1977 four flats opened at Power Street Hawthorn as a hostel for young offenders 17 – 21 years of age. At the time it was the only after care program for young homeless offenders released from Victoria’s correctional institutions.
In 1981, the decision was made to close the hostel at Hawthorn and move to a non-residential centre at 1 Cambridge Street Collingwood. This operated as a service supporting released young offenders in the community and actively developing alternatives to residential care. The company changed its name to ‘Four Flats Youth Services Limited’ in 1983.
The service expanded in 1987 with the purchase of a Rooming House in Nicholson Street Carlton. The Rooming House provided short-term housing for young offenders immediately on release.
In the same year, in honour of Fr Brosnan, ‘Four Flats’ began using the name Brosnan Youth Services and relocated to 291 Sydney Road Brunswick. Named the Brosnan Centre, it was opened by then Premier of Victoria John Cain in April 1987.
In 1989 the Centre began working with intellectually disabled young offenders. In 1991 a project to build supported accommodation for released young offenders with intellectually disabilities was established. With funding from the Department of Humans Services for a purpose built, supervised residence; Perry House in Reservoir was constructed. Formally opened in December 1997, Perry House amalgamated Katawa Grove (1989-90) and Horizon House (1990-97). Perry House was named after Brian Perry who worked at both previous properties.
Richmond Community Care (RCC) was formed in the early 1970s and provided support for vulnerable families in the Richmond public housing high-rise estates. RCC was a program of Jesuit Social Services between 1995 and 2000 and was located at 3 Belgium Avenue within the heart of the Richmond estates.
In September 1994, the company officially registered the name ‘Brosnan Youth Services Limited’. Another name change to Jesuit Social Services occurred in April 1996 when the company began operating under a new Jesuit Provincial-appointed Board of Directors.