About the service
The Hope Street First Response Youth Service in Whittlesea will incorporate construction of a purpose-built 13 bedroom supported crisis accommodation centre (youth refuge) and will also offer a 24/7 wrap-around response including a mobile outreach component. The service aims to:
- Provide crisis accommodation to 100 young people per year
- Provide mobile outreach services to 120 young people per year
- Provide holistic, wrap-around case management and integrated support
- Respond to complex issues and needs, making appropriate referrals to specialist support
- Assist young people with the transition to new living arrangements
- Link young people with supports in their local communities, as part of a local place response
- Provide support onsite 24/7, 365 days per year in the refuge, plus after-hours service via the mobile outreach component
Who will benefit?
The First Response Youth Service aims to prevent and divert young people and their children from the situation of homelessness and to provide specialised client focused support to young people and their children who are experiencing or at risk of homelessness. It will do this by working towards the following outcomes for young people and their children:
- Young people are diverted from the homelessness service system;
- Young people receive stable, safe housing and begin to build a pathway out of homelessness;
- Young people have a stable base from which to look for and retain employment and education opportunities;
- Young people are able to access full income entitlements and thereby have increased financial security; and
- Young people have improved connectedness to several support systems (schools, recreational, friends, family).
The City of Whittlesea reports high rates of youth homelessness, disadvantage and disengagement:
- On Census night 2016 there were 630 people experiencing homelessness
- Homelessness increased by 7% between 2011 and 2016
- As at March 2019 there were 3272 people on the waiting list for social housing
- 63% of households are in rent-related financial stress
- 25% of young people aged 15-24 years experience mental health problems
- One of the highest rates of family violence in Melbourne
- The second highest youth unemployment rate in Melbourne
Hope Street has been providing specialist homelessness housing and support programs in the City of Whittlesea since 2008, and the First Response Youth Service will complete the local place-based offering. There is currently no youth refuge in the area.
We have completed an identical project — the Hope Street First Response Youth Service in Melton — in 2018/2019, with the construction of a purpose-designed First Response youth refuge currently under construction and due for completion by the end of 2019. In the interim, crisis accommodation is being provided to young people through two private rental properties that Hope Street is operating as youth refuges, with over 30 clients having received support and/or accommodation since March. The Hope Street First Response Youth Mobile Outreach Service in Melton component has been in operation since June 2018, operating out of Hope Street's pre-existing site in Melton with thanks to a significant grant from The Ian Potter Foundation. Over 165 young people have received outreach support services in this time.
In partnership with the City of Whittlesea, a site has been identified in South Morang, close to the train line and shopping centre as well as other community amenities.
Russell Hopkins, Director of Community Services at the City of Whittlesea, said the Council is looking forward to the project coming to fruition. "Hope Street is a trusted partner with a strong track record of meeting the needs of vulnerable young people. Given the rates of issues such as youth disengagement, youth suicide and youth mental health in municipalities such as Whittlesea, Hope Street's proposal to work with Council in the provision of much needed emergency accommodation is particularly important," he said.