The Hope Street First Response Youth Service is an innovative new model designed to respond to youth homelessness via a place-based approach in the north-western growth corridor of Melbourne. The service consists of two components – a youth refuge providing supported crisis accommodation, and a mobile outreach service available 365 days per year including after hours:
The service is being provided within a purpose-built youth refuge consisting of three separate buildings:
- 8-bed communal living building
- 2-bedroom family unit for young people and their children
- an integrated consulting centre
The design is based on leading specialist youth-focused practice.
What does the refuge offer?
Service delivery is based on the enhanced youth refuge model aiming to improve outcomes for young people as a part of a homelessness prevention approach that includes access to:
- short/longer term accommodation
- emergency relief such as food, material aid or medication
- immediate and short term services for general and specialist health; employment, education or training; legal and financial matters; recreational/social connectivity
In partnership with the state government, philanthropic community, corporate sector, Melton City Council and local community members, Hope Street is about to launch this new youth refuge. This purpose-designed centre will provide specialist wrap around support services for young people and young families experiencing homelessness. The First Response Youth Mobile Outreach Service will work with the emergency accommodation centre, providing at risk young people with stable and safe accommodation and youth-specific supports.
How can young people access the refuge?
Young people must be:
- 16 - 25 years of age
- individuals or part of a couple / family (eg siblings, single parent and child, couple and child)
- (at risk of) experiencing homelessness and in crisis
- linked to the Melton local government area as well as neighbouring LGAs
While the youth refuge was being constructed, the First Response Youth Refuge Interim Model went live from Tuesday 12 March 2019. Two private rental properties were secured to provide crisis accommodation and 24/7 onsite support until the completion of the youth refuge.
Between 12 March – 30 June 2019, or 111 days of operation, the Youth Refuge Interim Model:
- Assisted 48 young people aged 16-25 years old, including four dependent children; and
- Provided 147 nights of accommodation, with the average length of accommodation being 27 nights per client.
Of the 48 young people assisted:
- 19 were male and 29 were female;
- The most common country of birth was Australia (29 young people), followed by Sudan (five young people), Kenya (two young people) and Thailand (two young people);
- Two identified as being of Aboriginal background;
- The most common age groups were 21-25 years old (46%), followed by 18-20 years old (38% and 15-17 years old (15%);
- 46% reported that they had a diagnosed mental health condition;
- Five family groups were supported – one couple, and four young people with dependent children;
- The main reasons for seeking support were a housing crisis (71%), domestic and family violence (10%) and relationship or family breakdown (4%);
- The most common sources of income when presenting to the service were:
- Youth Allowance (38%);
- New Start allowance (15%); and
- Parenting payment (19%).
Learn more about the young people supported, and our impact, from the report below.