In the 1990's significant developments occurred which have given shape to the organisation today.
In 1990 the Daughters of Charity began the process of employing lay managers in its services with the appointment of two non-Daughters of Charity to operate and manage the Ruah Centre in Northbridge. This process of handing over to lay personnel culminated in July 2009, on the 50th anniversary of the Daughters commencing their inner city work in Perth, when they withdrew from membership/’ownership’ of the Company and handed it over to eight people all of whom had a previous association with the organisation.
The decade was also characterised by the gradual development of key cultural components which have become the signature of the organisation today. These components include contemporary vision and mission statements, a set of five core values, key directions and strategic frameworks, and an inclusive spirituality paradigm.
This decade also saw the organisation enter the mental health field of service delivery, although it had played a strong advocacy role with government in the preceding years by highlighting the need for a community based service for people living with mental illness. For the first time the organisation commenced working in regions outside inner-city Perth with a mobile psychosocial support model. This marked the beginning of a new wave of service delivery for the organisation. Ruah Inreach Mental Health's original mobile service model laid the foundation for the organisation's subsequent expansion and today is Ruah's largest program area.
In 2001 the organisation took on the name Ruah. This is an ancient Hebrew word meaning 'wind', 'breath', 'Spirit of Life'. The name was chosen to honour the spiritual tradition of the organisation and reflect an 'inclusive spirituality' in its mission.
The turn of the century also saw significant growth in service programs and developmental projects in the homeless and mental health fields, specialist work with women coming out of prison and people in chaotic lifestyles living with HIV/AIDS. Ruah also ventured into the area of employment for marginalised people with the Big Issue and Ruah Workright - a specialist job placement agency.
In 2006 the Daughters of Charity/Ruah Community Services celebrated fifty years of service in WA. The occasion was marked with a commitment to pursue environmental sustainability in the mission and practice of the organisation. It committed to reduce the ecological footprint of the organisation and offset its generation of greenhouse gases.
Ruah is committed to building its responsiveness to the needs of Indigenous people and in July 2007 welcomed the transfer of the Anawim Aboriginal Women's Refuge from the auspice of the Catholic Archdiocese of Perth.
The Tradition of service continues...
Ruah's services remain intentionally directed to people who are particularly disadvantaged, expanding into new areas of work and new service models. Today these services support people to:
Address homelessness and accommodation vulnerabilities
Break the cycle of domestic or family violence
Mental health recovery and an improved quality of life
Reduce the impact of poverty and find pathways to mainstream opportunities
Address problematic substance use
Make the transition from prison into the community; and
Access employment and education opportunities.
Today Ruah is a medium-size non-Government organisation in Perth with around 210 staff and a turnover of $16 million. In its 50 years of operation it has consistently delivered quality services with a developmental edge and has enjoyed the respect of various client groups, other service providers and multiple Commonwealth and State Government departments.
Ruah is committed to working in partnership with people marginalised by mainstream society to enable them to overcome their disadvantage, improve the quality of their lives, enhance their spirit and participate more fully in the community. Ruah is also committed to advocacy in areas of social policy to improve the social fabric of our society.
Ruah begins by building a relationship with the people we work with, focusing on their strengths to increase their skills, confidence and capacities so they can deal with the complications in their lives. At the same time we remain committed to providing grassroots, professional and easy to access services, to walk and work alongside the individual or family in a genuine partnership of solidarity.
Ruah seeks to make a difference and actively encourages both workers and clients to be agents of change and of hope for the better. Ruah continuously seeks improvement and innovation in the provision of service to the community.