Proposed Whittlesea first response plans

Hope Street, a leading specialist youth homelessness service provider in Victoria, plans to establish a First Response Youth Service in the City of Whittlesea, a growth corridor reporting high rates of youth homelessness.

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.

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 arrangement
  • 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

The City of Whittlesea has committed to the long-term lease arrangement of 2500 square metres of council-owned land to Hope Street, on which the First Response Youth Service will be built.

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.

Hope Street's Chief Executive Officer, Donna Bennett, was recently interviewed by 3CR Community Radio breakfast show host Dean Shingange, during which she spoke about a number of concerning issues impacting young people today:

LISTEN: 3CR Community Radio interview with Donna Bennett, Hope Street CEO, 22 July 2019

Hope Street is in the process of raising the capital funds required to build the youth refuge and is actively seeking contributions from Government, philanthropic and corporate sources.

See our Whittlesea First Response campaign page for full details.

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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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