Hope Street will mark Homelessness Week by calling for Melburnians to provide Welcome Home packs for young people who are experiencing homelessness.
The packs contain essential self-care items, such as towels and toiletries, and are distributed to young people when they first enter a Hope Street program, such as crisis accommodation in Hope Street’s youth refuges. A pack costs $30 and donations are tax deductible.
Hope Street’s Chief Executive Officer, Donna Bennett, said the Welcome Home packs will help young people aged 16 to 25 years old to feel welcome and supported when they first arrive at a crisis accommodation site. “Young people come to Hope Street off the back of a traumatic experience of leaving home or being homeless – many of them have been couch surfing at friends’ houses, sleeping in their cars, or even sleeping rough on the street. When they first arrive at Hope Street, we give them the Welcome Home pack filled with essential self-care items. It just helps them to feel safe, supported and welcome, and it sets the tone for the rest of their stay,” said Donna.
Donna said Homelessness Week presents an opportunity to shine the national spotlight onto the growing issue of homelessness and, in particular, youth homelessness. “For Hope Street every week is homelessness week. With roughly 6000 young people aged 12-24 years old experiencing homelessness in Victoria on any given night, and most of these having left home due to domestic and family violence, we’re kept very busy,” she said. She added that the Northern and Western Homelessness Networks, of which Hope Street is a member, has a list of 4,400 children who are currently homeless in Melbourne’s north and west and whom the network has been unable to house.
Homelessness Week runs from 4 – 10 August 2019 and is co-ordinated by Homelessness Australia with the aim of raising awareness of people experiencing homelessness, the issues they face and the action need to achieve enduring solution. The 2019 theme for Homelessness Week is ‘Housing Ends Homelessness’.
Hope Street is calling on the Government to provide:
- A monumental boost to social and public housing, including housing that’s specifically set aside for young people;
- Construction of more youth refuges in growth corridors around Melbourne so that young people experiencing homelessness can access safe and supportive crisis accommodation within their communities; and
- Investment into innovative early intervention and prevention models of youth homelessness services, including the Hope to Home program and the Hope Street First Response Youth Service.
Hope Street endorses and supports both the national Everybody’s Home campaign, which calls for a better, fairer housing system for everyone, and the local Every Victorian Should Have a Home campaign, run by the Northern and Western Homelessness Networks – representing 50 community service organisations managing 180 homelessness programs in Melbourne’s north and west.
To kick start Homelessness Week, Hope Street's Chief Executive Officer, Donna Bennett, was interviewed by 3CR Community Radio's Monday Breakfast Team. Donna spoke about the need for a monumental boost in social and public housing and Hope Street's campaign to raise funds for Welcome Home packs:
Donate a Welcome Home pack to a young person today!