Bettina Spivakovsky, Upfront Events

I have been involved in the Arts and Music industry throughout my life and I have worked in a number of fields. For the last 29 years I have run my Upfront Events company and I have seen homelessness firsthand, especially with struggling artists who, due to having so little resources and financial support, have found themselves couch surfing, which is a form of homelessness. Some have also lived on the streets, busking for small change, and in some cases used drugs and alcohol to cope with their situation. Through my experiences with these people I learned more about homelessness — it was not a simple issue.

Young, vulnerable and displaced people lacking proper shelter are at great risk so my decision to support services that addressed homelessness became my focus. Having come from a family who were brought to Australia as refugees, I was grateful to be introduced to Hope Street.

Hope Street takes into consideration the experiences that have created the problem of homelessness for an individual such as family issues due to divorce or dysfunction, physical or sexual abuses, financial difficulties, lack of rental history, or displacement caused by other circumstances. Hope Street provides outstanding programs where young people who have left a difficult environment are afforded support and attention while maintaining their dignity.

Housing to meet the needs of youth experiencing homelessness is vital in a climate where its affordability is a growing problem. Hope Street’s remarkable approach to youth homelessness is to be applauded as it applies a complete, integrated model to achieve successful outcomes for young people and young families. The organisation not only provides shelter but gives young people access to services including outreach programs, independent living programs, life skills learning, and training and employment opportunities so that each young person can make informed decisions about their own life. It is for these reasons that I am such a supporter of the critical services that Hope Street provides - they can change the direction of a young person’s life towards a more positive future.

Bettina Spivakovsky

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