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Karakan, previously known as Karakan Hostels, has a long and rich history of working with individuals whose lives have been impacted by mental illness, as well as their families and the wider community.

Founded in 1972, Karakan was originally run & operated by volunteers.

The organisation was established in response to the growing need for suitable, affordable housing options for people living with mental illness in the community. During this period many people were living in inappropriate hostels that were in poor condition, overcrowded and often overpriced. Many people living in their own homes were struggling financially or in other ways and becoming at risk of homelessness. Furthermore, these housing issues were impacting on general quality of life, leaving a person with little opportunity of reclaiming their life beyond their illness. Karakan responded by providing more affordable and suitable housing options for people.

Over the years the accommodation options Karakan has provided have evolved in response to the needs of those accessing this service. Houses are no longer hostels, but rather much smaller 3 to 5 bedroom homes that a person can feel safe and comfortable in.

Transformation to larger organisation

In the last few decades Karakan has transformed from a small organisation providing housing options, to a much larger organisation that now provides a greater variety of services to a greater number of people. In 2004 Karakan became an approved service provider for Disability Services Queensland, receiving a number of funding packages to support people to live in their own homes and maintain a good quality of life. During this period Karakan developed the short­term accommodation program (STAP), funded by Disability Services Queensland. This program supports people experiencing mental illness and disability that are facing crises around their housing situation. The service provides a rapid response that assists a person to avoid homelessness.

Funding from Skills Queensland

In 2012 Karakan acquired funding from Skills Queensland to provide training in the five, recovery oriented, core units of the Certificate IV in Community Services Mental Health. Since then more than 50 employees from different organisations across South East Queensland have participated in this training, with many gaining formal qualifications to work in this sector.

Karakan currently supports between 70 and 100 people at any given time, providing services from South Brisbane to Beenleigh and the Bayside area. Our office and new training facilities are now based in Underwood and open to the public Monday to Friday. Whilst the organisation has changed dramatically since it was established in 1972, the culture of providing an environment that nurtures and assists individuals to recognise their own strengths and resilience remains the key focus.