Hope Street young person.

The Hope Street First Response Youth Mobile Outreach Service, an innovative place-based model of youth homelessness response, marked its first year of operation in the City of Melton in July 2019. The service launched in July 2018, thanks to a major grant from The Ian Potter Foundation and funding from Hope Street, and has thus far supported 202 young people who are experiencing homelessness – much more than the anticipated 100 young people per year.

Available seven days a week, 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. The support provided to young people includes emergency accommodation, meal and grocery vouchers, clothing, emergency back packs containing personal toiletry items, support to engage in employment and education opportunities, assistance navigating the homelessness system and referrals to relevant services.

Victoria's most vulnerable citizens

In July 2019 Hope Street made a submission to the Royal Commission into Victoria's Mental Health System.

Dear Hope Street partners and supporters,

Mental health and homelessness have a bidirectional relationship, with poorer mental health associated with a lower likelihood of achieving stable housing, and unstable housing contributing to worsening mental health. International studies have revealed that up to 98% of youth have at least one mental health disorder. In Australia, just over 50% of young people report having been diagnosed with at least one mental health condition, and that does not include those who are not yet formally diagnosed.

Planting the first tree, from left to right: Donna Bennett – CEO of Hope Street Youth and Family Services;  Hon. Natalie Hutchins – local member for and Minister for Aboriginal Affairs; Prevention of Family Violence; Women; and Industrial Affairs; and Cr Bob Turner – City of Melton Mayor.

A turning of the sod event took place in Melton on 21 September 2018 to celebrate the start of the construction of a purpose-built youth refuge which will accommodate young people and young families experiencing homelessness.

The state-of-the-art youth refuge, called the Hope Street First Response Youth Service in Melton, will consist of eight individual bedrooms for young people and a two-bedroom family unit, and will accommodate 100 young people experiencing homelessness each year. It is a project of non-profit organisation Hope Street Youth and Family Services - one of the longest established specialist youth homelessness services in Victoria.

Impact100 Melbourne 2018 Theme Launch

On Thursday 30 August 2018, Hope Street CEO, Donna Bennett, gave a presentation at the Impact100 Melbourne 2018/2019 Theme Launch - Youth Homelessness.

Impact100 Melbourne is a group of 100 diverse donors who are collectively empowered to make a significant impact on issues affecting their local community. Each year, this passionate giving circle focuses on a social issue and directs strategically-targeted grants to local not-for-profits in Melbourne.

Hope Street wins a Business Excellence Award

Hope Street was announced as the winner of the City of Melton Business Excellence Community Contribution Award 2018 at a Gala Dinner on Friday 31 August 2018. Hope Street CEO, Donna Bennett, and Programs Manager (North West), Norman Vella attended with guests from the Kirrip Aboriginal Corporation in Melton.

The awards acknowledge the contributions of local organisations displaying excellence in the City of Melton and after five months, two rounds of judging and over 130 nominations, finalists competed for awards in one of 13 categories. Hope Street was one of three finalists for the Community Contribution Award category, sponsored by MatchWorks Bacchus Marsh.

Melton First Response Campaign - Project Update

Hope Street CEO, Donna Bennett, is thrilled to announce that the Victorian Government has allocated further vital funding for the Hope Street First Response Youth Service in Melton.

Dear Supporters and Friends of Hope Street

The additional $1.276 million for the Hope Street First Response Youth Service in Melton brings the State Government's total contribution to $2.476 million towards the capital build cost of the specialist youth supported crisis accommodation centre (youth refuge).  We are very grateful to the State Government for their commitment to the project which will provide support and accommodation to young people and young families in crisis as a result of and impacted by homelessness or at risk of becoming homeless in the municipality of Melton and neighbouring communities.

Housing dream comes true

Hope Street’s Hope to Home in Melton program has enabled four young people to find a place they can call home. The young people are the first two couples from the program to be moving out of homelessness and into affordable, long term rental accommodation.

In partnership with Gandel Philanthropy and Raine and Horne Melton, Hope Street actively supports at risk young people to access sustainable private housing by providing subsidised rent, building confidence, life skills and links to education, training and employment, and fostering enduring family and community connections.

Hope Street and Woodgrove Shopping Centre partnership renewal

Woodgrove Shopping Centre’s support for young people experiencing or at risk of homelessness continues to strengthen through their renewed commitment to Hope Street Youth and Family Services. Our ongoing partnership is exciting and wonderful news.

Woodgrove Shopping Centre have provided tremendous assistance to Hope Street through the promotion of our work with homeless young people and families and, in particular, for our Melton First Response campaign to establish a vital, rapid response youth service in Melton. Based in Melton, Woodgrove’s concern for vulnerable youth in their local community has translated into action in collaboration with Hope Street, such as hosting the launch of the Responding to Youth Homelessness in Outer Growth Corridors: A research project in response to youth homelessness in Melton research report and having an awareness and fund raising feature in their Centre – the Tree of Hope. Woodgrove have raised almost $5000 through various activities and events for Hope Street’s work with homeless young persons.

Business Excellence Awards

Hope Street is the winner of the 2016 City of Melton Business Excellence Award - Matchworks Best Community Involvement Organisation.

MatchWorks Employer Solutions Consultant, David Fuller, presented the award to Hope Street representatives Andrew Nette (Chair of Board), Donna Bennett (CEO) and Jeremie Mbog Nyetam (Melton Program Coordinator) at the Venture Melton-hosted awards ceremony held on Friday 17 June 2016 at Tabcorp Park. 

Butterflies of hope

It has been said that the fluttering of a butterfly's wings can effect climate changes on the other side of the planet.* Last Thursday a kaleidoscope of butterflies began appearing on a tree in Melton...

Thursday 24 September saw the launch of our Responding to Youth Homelessness in Outer Growth Corridors: A research project in response to youth homelessness in Melton at Woodgrove Shopping Centre. The event also revealed the Tree of Hope, a place where the local community can visit to leave messages and butterfly wings of hope for homeless young people and their families. All funds raised via Woodgrove Shopping Centre's Tree of Hope initiative are being donated to Hope Street.


We are also very pleased to announce that Melton Leader has partnered with Hope Street to give Melton’s homeless youth a greater place in the minds and hearts of the community, and to help these young people get support within their local area.

Mum and child

Hope Street CEO, Donna Bennett's first job as a new graduate was as a Youth Housing Support Worker for young people with dependants in Broadmeadows, Victoria.   In this Parity magazine opinion piece, she reflects on how far young single mums have come - and how far we still have to go to support them.

What I saw and understood from my friends and life in regional Victoria did not prepare me however for the level of disadvantage, discrimination, negative judgements, poverty and isolation I soon learned about in my new role as a social worker.

Young woman alone

Hope Street's Youth Reconciliation Program Practitioner, Louise Maree, says that miscommunication and misinterpretation within families can lead to a young person becoming homeless. In Parity magazine's August 2015 issue she writes about how young people and their families can reconnect.

In my role as the Youth Reconciliation Practitioner at Hope Street Youth and Family Services (Hope Street) I am constantly confronted with the life changing and pervasive negativity family disengagement has on a young person’s existence.

Mayoral Ball 2015

In support of the Melton City Council, Hope Street was delighted to attend the annual Mayoral Ball 2015 hosted by the Mayor Sophie Ramsey. 

Our organisation has been a part of the City of Melton community since 2009, with the establishment of our Hope Street in Melton program providing supported medium term accommodation to vulnerable local young people who are homeless or at risk of homelessness.   The Councillors and Officers of Melton City Council have been integral to the establishment of Hope Street In Melton, ensuring valuable community services are brought into the area and remain as a part of the Melton community.

Planting seeds of hope

Spring is a time of growth.  Hope Street needs your help to build a new youth crisis accommodation centre and we are launching Responding to Youth Homelessness in Outer Growth Corridors - all under a budding Tree of Hope.

From 18 September, the Tree of Hope will be an evolving display at the Woodgrove Shopping Centre. People will be able to buy and attach a butterfly to the tree and leave their messages of hope for young people who are homeless or at risk of homelessness. As the number of butterflies on the tree grows, so does the awareness of youth homelessness and how Hope Street helps vulnerable young persons establish roots in the community and realise their potential. This is a symbolic representation of the community's concern for homeless young people and their families.

Donna Bennett, Hope Street CEO

Donna Bennett, CEO, has been nominated for the 2015 Victorian Homelessness Achievement Awards. These awards celebrate the exceptional efforts of specialist homelessness services, consumers and other community members to end homelessness in Victoria.

Donna's award nomination in the category of Excellence in ending homelessness among young people recognises her continued and tireless work, over the last 15 years at Hope Street, focussing on holistic and innovative approaches to addressing the complexity of youth and family homelessness. She has ensured that the voice of at risk and disadvantaged young people is represented and heard at local, state and national levels within the community, through grassroots engagement of young people and their families, and in her advocacy as an executive officer to local and federal members of parliament and departmental ministers.

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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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