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Layla's path to Sacred Heart Mission

Pathways Worker, Layla standing outside Sacred Heart Mission

14 May 2018

When you’re completing a degree in Social Work, students are often met with the question, ‘So what area do you want to work in?’

While not all students know the answer, they often have their areas of interest. For Pathways Worker Layla Silverstein, though, there was once a time when the homelessness sector didn’t even make the list.  

“Homelessness was previously a field I had not engaged with, or shown any interest towards,” she says.

“I quickly discovered it was an extremely dynamic, complex, challenging and interesting sector to work within.”

Layla started with Sacred Heart Mission as a social work student on her final placement, where she completed her research as a part of Journey to Social Inclusion (J2SI), a proven, innovative, housing-first solution to ending homelessness.

After receiving training, she facilitated one-on-one interviews with the program’s participants, which expanded her knowledge of the homelessness sector.

“I was exposed to a wide range of people, ages, genders, cultural backgrounds and life experiences.”

Layla was part of what Sacred Heart Mission calls ‘the student unit’, a group of students who meet every week to reflect on their placement experience. She found the structure provided her with a supportive space in which to reflect, discuss and grow.  

“I really felt that Sacred Heart Mission invested thoroughly in their students and provided huge opportunities for skill building, networking and growth.”

On completing her degree, Layla gained employment with Sacred Heart Mission as a casual Support Worker. Taking advantage of the opportunities that came her way, she quickly rose through the ranks to become a Pathways Worker at Sacred Heart Central. Today, she works in our 'Assistance with Care and Housing for the Aged' program, providing support to older women and men who attend our engagement hubs.

“Sacred Heart Central provides a welcoming space for engagement, support, referrals, crisis intervention, case management and assistance in accessing housing. We also have shower and laundry facilities, a GP clinic and monthly vet care all alongside the Meals Program.”

“My role, within our amazing team, provides short-term and crisis case management that addresses goals of our client group.”

While Layla is just at the beginning of her social work career, we look forward to having her on board for many years to come.

“The Mission has been integral in my professional growth and providing a foundation for my social work career.”

“I can definitely see myself continuing to build my career with Sacred Heart Mission and feel strongly connected to the organisation.”

There are many ways you can work for Sacred Heart Mission. We offers a range of placement opportunities to both university and TAFE students who need to gain field experience related to their area of study, including social work, individual support, and nursing. We give our students comprehensive orientation, supervision and a safe working environment. To find out more, visit

We are also currently recruiting for a range of roles for the next phase of our ground-breaking Journey to Social Inclusion (J2SI) program, mentioned above, which will support 180 people over three years to achieve a pathway out of chronic homelessness. Join a brand-new team of experienced staff with diverse professional backgrounds. Over a three-year journey, we will be delivering cutting-edge interventions with proven outcomes in stable housing, social inclusion and economic participation.

View our current vacancies

Sacred Heart Mission respectfully acknowledges the traditional custodians of the land on which we operate our services. We pay our respects to the ongoing living cultures of Aboriginal peoples, and to Elders past, present and future.
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