Over Christmas and the holiday season, Hope Street Youth and Family Services will provide safe accommodation and outreach services for young people and young families who are experiencing, or at risk of, homelessness. Our specialist youth homelessness service will be supporting roughly 80 young people aged 16-25 years old, plus 22 of their dependent children aged 0-8 years old, across its sites in Brunswick, Whittlesea and Melton.
Donna Bennett, Hope Street's CEO, said Christmas can be a particularly challenging time for young people who are experiencing homelessness. "They may be missing family with whom they used to celebrate special occasions, and it's also a time of increased financial stress and pressure, particularly for young people with children who have high hopes of receiving a Christmas gift," said Donna.
Hope Street's youth refuges in Brunswick and Melton operate 24/7 including over the holiday season, and the First Response Youth Mobile Outreach Service in Melton operates until 10:30pm seven days per week including public holidays. Donna said the teams are bracing to be busier than usual as the last week of December and early January are predictably busy periods for the youth homelessness sector.
Christmas gifts for young people
To help make the holiday season a little more joyful, Hope Street is aiming to provide a gift for each young person and child in our care this Christmas. Hope Street has partnered with four corporate supporters – Ecodynamics, Stramit, Woodlea and SAF-HOLLAND – who have each mobilized their staffing teams and networks to enable this.
Individuals and families are also encouraged to participate by making a donation towards the Christmas campaign. $30 will purchase a Kmart gift voucher which will allow a young person to choose a special gift of their choice, or $40 will purchase either a gift pack for a young person. The campaign is open until Friday 13 December 2019.
SAF-HOLLAND are a Melton-based designer, manufacturer and distributor of engineering components. In addition to their contribution to the Christmas at Hope Street campaign, they also provide quarterly donations to Hope Street and offer young people access to an employment readiness program.
Our entire team is looking forward to doing some Christmas shopping for the residents at Hope Street, as we know our gifts will make Christmas all the more special for them personally. This year the presents under the SAF-HOLLAND Christmas Tree will be for the families at Hope Street, and we are grateful for the opportunity to make a positive contribution to their festive season. Merry Christmas from the Team at SAF-HOLLAND.
Woodlea is a masterplanned community in Melbourne's west. In addition to their contribution to the Christmas at Hope Street campaign, Woodlea have supported Hope Street in Melton via hands-on volunteering.
Woodlea has formed a special relationship with Hope Street over the last few years and we have seen firsthand the difference that makes in people's lives. We are proud to provide ongoing support to such an amazing organisation.
-- Matthew Dean, Project Director
Ecodynamics is a vertically integrated landscape construction, materials and services company. In addition to their contribution to the Christmas at Hope Street campaign, Ecodynamics is sponsoring the landscaping for the Hope Street First Response Youth Service centre in Melton. They are also represented on Hope Street's Corporate Committee by Angus Curry, Victorian State Manager.
We consider it an absolute honour to be able to assist young people in our local community who are doing it tough. Being able to deliver the gifts in person to Hope Street's refuges last year was a real privilege, as I was able to see firsthand the huge impact this wonderful charity has directly on disadvantaged youth. The look on their faces was a definite highlight and something I won't forget. The compassion, respect and care that Hope Street employees display really align with the values of the Ecodynamics business, and we look forward to the opportunity to partner with Hope Street not only at Christmas, but all year round.
-- Kate Hogan, Group Marketing Manager and Business Development Manager
Stramit, part of Fletcher Building, is one of Australia's leading manufacturers and suppliers of roll formed steel building products. In addition to their contribution to the Christmas at Hope Street campaign, Stramit are sponsoring the roofing materials for the Hope Street First Response Youth Service centre in Melton, and they also regularly provide donated toiletries, clothing and gifts for Hope Street young people.
The team at Stramit Knoxfield wish our friends at Hope Street the very best for the coming Christmas season. It is with great pride that I see the donations from our employees growing each day to support others who will get such joy from the contributions. Happy Christmas to our friends at Hope Street and we are eagerly awaiting the opening of the Hope Street First Response Youth Service centre in Melton in 2020.
-- Brendan Rundle, Metro Operations Manager
Gift wrapping at Woodgrove Shopping Centre
In addition to the incredible support mentioned above, Woodgrove Shopping Centre in Melton are hosting a Christmas gift wrapping stand in the week leading up to Christmas. For a gold coin donation to Hope Street, Woodgrove customers will have their gifts beautifully wrapped by volunteers from Melton City Council and the Woodgrove staff team. Woodgrove supports Hope Street throughout the year by raising funds and awareness for youth homelessness in the Melton area via multiple marketing, fundraising and community engagement initiatives including the HOPE sign outside the Bank of Melbourne entrance and Hope Street signage on the walls and stairwells around the shopping centre.
Donna Bennett said Hope Street is grateful for the support of these five corporate partners. "Hope Street is really humbled by the partnerships we value the goodwill demonstrated by these community driven corporate partners. They recognise that youth homelessness shouldn't exist in a city as wealthy as Melbourne, and they're partnering with us to ensure we can collectively support young people to transition quickly out of homelessness and back into secure housing, or better yet, not to become homeless in the first place. Their support will certainly make Christmas and the holiday season a little brighter for our young people," she said.