A sign of Hope.  Image courtesy of Woodgrove Shopping Centre.

Hope Street will mark World Homeless Day, 10 October, with a food, art and music event hosted by Woodgrove Shopping Centre in Melton, and by debunking homelessness myths as part of the #HomelessTruths campaign.

A Sign of Hope Event, Woodgrove Shopping Centre

The event aims to raise awareness of the misconceptions surrounding youth homelessness, and the valuable services Hope Street provides for vulnerable young people.

When: Thursday 10 October 2019; 3:00pm - 6:00pm
Where: Woodgrove Shopping Centre – The Grove (outside Bank of Melbourne entrance), where the large HOPE letter signage resides. [Map]
Details: https://www.facebook.com/events/2678940552138919/

The event will include:

  • Food retailers such as Boost Juice, La Porchetta, Muffin Break, Potato Corner, and Schnitz, will provide small dishes in exchange for a gold coin donation, with all proceeds going towards Hope Street’s Melton programs.
  • A chalk graphic will be the feature of the event, allowing customers to take part in the community mural by writing and drawing their message of hope.
  • Customers can enjoy live musical performances from local buskers.
  • Hope Street’s Ambassador, Jennifer Hansen from SmoothFM, will be in attendance, along with young people with lived experience of homelessness and Hope Street staff.

Woodgrove has been a proud supporter of Hope Street since 2015, providing Centre gift vouchers for young people who are experiencing homelessness, and assisting to raise Hope Street’s profile in the Melton community via the visible Hope Street signage around the Centre and regular coverage on Woodgrove’s blog.

Woodgrove Centre Manager, Kylie Robertson, said partnerships such as this are invaluable and rewarding for both the Centre and the surrounding community. “As a hub for the local community in Melton, we strongly believe in partnering with respected organisations and groups to deliver change that is valued by our Woodgrove community, and represents the causes they believe in,” she said.

Hope Street CEO, Donna Bennett, said the organisation is grateful for Woodgrove’s support. “Hope Street takes a local place-based approach to responding to youth homelessness and Woodgrove are a significant partner for us in Melton. Woodgrove raise awareness for youth homelessness, debunk unhelpful myths about youth homelessness, and raise community support for Hope Street and young people who are experiencing homelessness. We look forward to spending World Homeless Day at Woodgrove, and we invite the community to join us!”


Hope Street will also utilise World Homeless Day to debunk myths about homelessness, and spread truths about homelessness via the #HomelessTruths campaign co-ordinated by the Victorian Homelessness Network, of which Hope Street is a member.

Donna Bennett said myths about homelessness put the blame on individuals instead of on the systemic drivers of homelessness. “Our hope in joining the #HomelessTruths campaign is that we can debunk unhelpful myths about young people who are experiencing homelessness, and replace them with the truth – homelessness is never a lifestyle choice for young people,” she said.

The five myths that are being debunked are:

  1. Myth: People wouldn’t be homeless if they got a job.
    Truth: 30% of people experiencing homelessness do have a job. The problem is that rents have soared and wages haven’t kept up.
  2. Myth: People choose to be homeless.
    Truth: Low income earners have been pushed out of the private rental market, and there’s no social housing safety net to catch them. Homelessness is the result of a lack of affordable homes.
  3. Myth: Most people become homeless because of drugs and alcohol.
    Truth: A lack of housing and family violence are the two main reasons people become homeless.
  4. Myth: People are homeless because they are mentally ill.
    Truth: 30% of homelessness clients have mental health issues, and half of them developed these after they became homeless.
  5. Myth: Only people living on the street are truly homeless.
    Truth: Couchsurfing, living in refuges and staying in rooming houses are all forms of homelessness (see Jesse's story below). Homelessness is traumatic and destabilising no matter its form.

See Also

Interview and photograph opportunities

  • Hope Street CEO, Donna Bennett; Hope Street Ambassador, Jennifer Hansen, and Hope Street Youth Ambassadors (young people with lived experience of homelessness) are available for interview.
  • High resolution images are also available.

For interview and photo opportunities, please contact Donna Bennett, CEO, at .

To learn more about youth homelessness and young people's lived experiences of homelessness, please see I Am A Young Person.

Article image courtesy of Woodgrove Shopping Centre.

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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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