Young people

In June 2018 the Hope Street First Response Youth Mobile Outreach Service launched in Melton thanks to a four year $1.8 million grant from The Ian Potter Foundation, operating out of Hope Street’s existing transitional housing site in Melton until its future move across to the new First Response Youth Service once the building is complete.

Available seven days a week from 10am until midnight,REFER UPDATE BELOW the First Response Youth Mobile Outreach Service provides local mobile crisis support for young people and young families experiencing (and at risk of experiencing) homelessness. Support provided includes crisis accommodation, meal vouchers, assistance navigating the homelessness service sector, and referrals to other support services. Support is mobile and can go to wherever the young person is – a friend’s house, a park, a school, etc.

Youth refuge under construction

Construction of the Hope Street First Response Youth Service (Youth Refuge) continues in Melton, with building due for completion later this year. In the meantime, the First Response Youth Refuge Interim Model has gone live as of Tuesday 12 March!

Two private rental properties have been secured to provide supported crisis accommodation until the Youth Refuge building is completed. Both houses are…

National Youth Homelessness Conference

On 18 and 19 March, Hope Street’s Business Development and Partnerships Manager, Olivia Myeza, and People and Culture Advisor, Riette Veldsman, attended the National Youth Homelessness Conference at Melbourne Town Hall. The conference was the first national homelessness conference focused solely on youth to be held in Australia in 20 years.

In 2008, the combined advocacy of the National Youth Commission (NYC) Inquiry into Youth Homelessness through its recommendations and report Australia’s Homeless Youth, and The Oasis documentary brought youth homelessness into the public spotlight. This had a significant impact on public perceptions and policy on youth homelessness, however in the interim this issue has gradually dropped off the public radar. This conference built upon the findings of the 2007/08 National Youth Commission Inquiry into Youth Homelessness and assessed the progress that has been made in the last 10 years. The event brought together experts and like-minded individuals and groups to learn from the past, plan for the future, and act to end youth homelessness.

Breakfast event at Sofitel Melbourne On Collins

On Thursday 7 March, a select group of corporate and philanthropic leaders gathered for a breakfast function in support of Hope Street, hosted generously by Sofitel Melbourne On Collins.

The event was emceed by Clive Scott, General Manager of Sofitel Melbourne On Collins and a founding member of Hope Street’s Corporate Committee, and included addresses by:

Young man at Hope Street

Youth Homelessness Matters Day (YHMD) is a national annual campaign, aimed at raising awareness of youth homelessness amongst decision makers and the wider community. The day, Wednesday 17 April 2019, falls in the middle of National Youth Week, a time when the country’s attention is on the plight of young Australians.

More than 28,000 young Australians aged 12 to 25 years old do not have a home, due mostly to them escaping conflict and violence. Once homeless, it is almost impossible for young people to find a home due to the housing affordability crisis in Australia. Youth homelessness is often hidden from view as young people experiencing homelessness stay in refuges, couch surf at friends’ houses, or sleep in their cars.

Person without a home

Hope Street is in the early stages of exploring the establishment of a new youth crisis accommodation centre in South Morang, in partnership with the City of Whittlesea Council.

Hope Street would run the proposed Whittlesea facility and associated 24-hour, seven day-a-week response service using the same model as the Hope Street First Response Youth Service in Melton and Hope Street First Response Youth Mobile Outreach Service in Melton.

April 2018 Parity magazine launch

On Youth Homelessness Matters Day, Hope Street joined the Council to Homeless Persons and Melbourne City Mission to launch the April 2018 Young People, Trauma and Homelessness edition of Parity.

Hope Street, one of the edition sponsors, has contributed a number of articles to this edition which examines trauma as a cause of youth homelessness, its impact on young people experiencing homelessness and how understanding trauma can assist those helping young people out of homelessness.

Cutting the costs of housing

On 17 May 2017, workers supporting young people gathered for an afternoon of information sharing, building networks and learning more about minimising living expenses and housing overheads for young people on low incomes in their rental properties or public housing. 

Each year Hope Street holds a community capacity building event where staff in the homelessness sector can learn about new research and resources available to young people who are homeless or in threat of being homeless. The forum, held at the Harry Atkinson Art and Craft Centre in Coburg, was for youth workers, homelessness staff and anyone working with young people.

Giving young people a voice

On 07 April 2017, the Council to Homeless Persons launched its "Giving Voice: Young People Experiencing and Responding to Homelessness" edition of their national publication, Parity.  This issue features young people speaking for themselves and giving voice to their story of how they became homeless in the first place and what happened to them next.

Speakers at the launch included:

  • Guy Johnson, Associate Professor of Urban Housing and Homelessness, RMIT, will launch the edition
  • Sherri Bruinhout, General Manager, Homelessness and Justice
  • Jenny Smith, CEO Council to Homeless Persons
  • Vicki Sutton, CEO Melbourne City Mission
  • Bruce Tucker, Interim Operations Manager, Hope Street Youth and Family Services
Charity Night Cheque Presentation

Hope Street is once again proud to be one of the recipients of the proceeds of the annual Community Charity Race Night organised by the Rotary Clubs of Melton and Melton Valley.

The harness racing fundraising event held in October last year raised $4,188 for Hope Street. In his speech at the Cheque Presentation evening on Tuesday 11 April 2017, Jeremie Mbog Nyetam, Program Coordinator of the Hope Street In Melton and Hope Street In Whittlesea programs, announced that this generous donation will go towards the Hope Street First Response Youth Service in Melton. This is a purpose-built crisis accommodation centre that will provide emergency accommodation and specialist support services to approximately 100 young people/families a year in the City of Melton.

Funding announcement media release

Hope Street applauds the Victorian government's funding announcement to increase immediate funding for crisis and emergency accommodation in Outer Growth Corridor Melton.

Today's comprehensive funding announcement by The Premier, Daniel Andrews, and Minister for Housing, Martin Foley, is a significant response to the recommendations of the Royal Commission into Family Violence. It acknowledges that young people who experience homelessness require specific tailored responses.

Hope Street has been working closely with various stakeholders in the LGA of Melton to establish an emergency accommodation facility along with specialist wrap around support services for over 220 young people experiencing homelessness. A youth refuge and community outreach services are designed to provide at risk young people with stable and safe accommodation and youth-specific supports.

Holding out hope

Hope Street has put the call out to the Victorian government to help homeless youth and young families in the upcoming state budget.

Our recent Media Release on the Royal Commission into Family Violence: Report and Recommendations further highlighted the need to recognise and support the many young people experiencing homelessness due to family violence.  In the outer growth corridors of Melbourne this need has become urgent due to the lack of a first response centre in places like Melton.

In an interview with Melton Leader's Ami Humpage, Hope Street's Service Development Manager, Mandy Baxter, revealed that:

Just last week a couple were referred to Hope Street Melton because they had nowhere to go. They couldn’t get an appointment in the city for two weeks and without a first response centre in Melton, all we could do was put them up in a hotel for the night until we could find them a safe place to go outside of Melton.

Mandala creations

At Hope Street, Mandala Workshops are presented as a non-religious, therapeutic and creative tool in which young people are invited to participate and express themselves through the colouring in of Mandalas.

What is a Mandala?

The word "Mandala" is from the classical Indian language of Sanskrit and means 'circle'. The Mandala has been derived from Hinduism and Buddhism representing the Universe. The colouring in and creation of Mandalas has therapeutic benefits: the gentle rhythmic colouring-in motion relaxes young people whilst at the same time encourages creativity, expression and participation.

Parity magazine - April 2015 issue

Jenny Smith, CEO of the Council to Homeless Persons (CHP), says there is little argument about the importance of preventing youth homelessness. However, many have paused when confronting the challenge of accurately identifying those young people who are most likely to be at risk of becoming homeless. 

Hope Street recently co-sponsored and contributed a number of articles and images to CHP's national magazine, Parity, in its April 2015 Too Much Too Young: Responding to Young People at Risk of Homelessness issue:


Donna Bennett, CEO, Hope Street Youth and Family Services

I am concerned that current models of housing are creating barriers perpetuating young people’s homelessness. ...Young people who are homeless, in crisis and in the homelessness crisis accommodation system face waiting periods for up to and in excess of 15 years in some areas.

Some of our Hope Street performers

Hope Street proudly participated in the annual RDNS Where the Heart is...Community Festival held on Friday, 20th March 2015 at Edinburgh Gardens in Fitzroy’s North.   In the spirit of creating an inclusive, therapeutic and youth focused space, Hope Street’s Youth Reconciliation Worker, Louise Maree and Boost Specialist Practitioner, Ksenya Kupres (with the guidance of Hope Street's RDNS Super Nurse Cath) organised our first ever Hope Street Stall.   It was an opportunity for festival-goers to experience the tranquillity and healing effects of colouring in the mandala.  Kmart in Brunswick kindly donated colouring pencils so that festival-goers were able to colour in a mandala whilst visiting the Hope Street Stall. 

Dale Hardy, Operations Manager

Our Operations Manager, Dale Hardy, was recently interviewed by the team at Ethical Jobs about his career journey into the not-for-profit sector and his role at Hope Street.  Below is an excerpt from the Working for a better world: Hope Street Youth and Family Services’ Dale Hardy article:

For those who may not have heard of your organisation, what does Hope Street Youth and Family Services do, and what first attracted you to them when you saw the ad on

Hope Street Youth and Family Services originated as a provider of crisis accommodation for young people over 30 years ago. We still operate one of the largest youth refuges within the state from its original location in Brunswick.

My initial attraction to the advertised position was that the role itself suited the type of position I was looking for at the time. However, it was the communication with the organisation and Hope Street’s CEO, Donna Bennett, which made me excited about the role and about working for the organisation. All communication relating to the application and subsequent interview was extremely professional and considered, and Donna’s enthusiasm for the organisation and advertised role was genuine and inspirational.

Homeless person beside graffiti wall

Hope Street is an established specialist youth homelessness provider in the North and West Divisions of Melbourne. Hope Street is a leading organisation with over 30 years of experience in the delivery of youth centred programs and practices that achieve effective housing outcomes with young people. As experts in this field, Hope Street has recognised the importance of practitioners across sectors who work with young people who are homeless, coming together to examine effective strategies to divert young people away from the homelessness sector.

Themes of the Forum

  • Rapid Housing for Young people
  • Early intervention and Short Term Responses to divert young people from the Homelessness Service System
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Hope to Home in Whittlesea

FEATURED PILOT PROGRAM: Hope to Home in Whittlesea

Many young people face obstacles when trying to secure stable accommodation due to no rental history, lack of affordable housing, and no employment to sustain rental leases.  The Hope to Home in Whittlesea pilot program will address these issues by:

  • Facilitating the transition of up to 30 young people (and their children) from the Hope Street in Whittlesea program or Whittlesea Housing into 1 and 2 bedroom units
  • Providing case management once they secure private rental of these units
  • Helping these young people maintain their tenancy, employment, education and training, and community connections
  • Engaging the support of community stakeholders including local businesses to address barriers contributing to youth homelessness

Please contact us if you would like to become a partner and support at risk young people and young families.

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