A recent event highlighted the mass shortage of social and affordable housing options for youth homelessness in the outer West – something that the team at Hope Street is devoted to changing.
A recent forum on the matter of youth homelessness in the Whittlesea region confirmed what the staff at our community partner, Hope Street Youth and Family Services, already know too well: that youth homelessness is a significant issue in the community and that Hope Street and other local support agencies are struggling to meet demand.
Last month, the City of Whittlesea hosted a panel discussion to address the issue of youth homelessness in the area. Organised by Hope Street in partnership with Baseline for Young People at City of Whittlesea and Council to Homeless Persons, the event ‘Young and Homeless in the City of Whittlesea,’ was attended by a range of experts including homelessness service providers, government representatives and community members, along with young people with lived experience of homelessness.
Hope Street is one of Melbourne's longest serving specialist youth homelessness service providers. It delivers a range of support services to young people in the Melton area, including crisis accommodation, transitional housing, material support, living skills training, outreach services and private rental transition programs – all targeted at young people and young families.
But the issue of youth homelessness in the Melton area is growing, and service providers are struggling to keep up with the demand for services from young people who are experiencing homelessness.
Along with MPs, council representatives and spokespeople from a range of homelessness service providers, the event’s panellists included two young people – Olly and Whitney – who have lived experience of homelessness are currently being accommodated at Hope Street sites.
Each of the panellists drew attention to the urgent need for more homelessness services in the City of Whittlesea – an area with high rates of youth homelessness, family and domestic violence and youth unemployment. The greatest need at present, they explained, is for young people and young families.
Whitney, a young mother who has been experiencing homelessness for the past three years, spoke about the stress of not being able to access homelessness services in her local community.
"I have children in this area. This is my home,” she explained. “But there were no beds available for me when I was homeless, so I ended up in a refuge in another part of Melbourne and then out in a transitional house in the western suburbs.”
She explained that she was forced to travel for hours on public transport from the west to the city every day in order to see her children and to attend medical appointments. “I did all this whilst pregnant and having a newborn baby too,” Whitney said. “I was grateful for the support I received, but it would have been amazing to have gotten that support in my home community."
The event also saw the launch of the April edition of Parity magazine, Australia's national homelessness publication, produced by Council to Homeless Persons.
Co-sponsored by Hope Street, the magazine’s April edition ‘The Inner and the Outer and Beyond’ looked exclusively at youth homelessness, with Hope Street contributing several articles highlighting the work being done both in the local area and beyond.
Articles compared and contrasted youth homelessness in inner city, outer suburban and regional areas of Australia, while Hope Street contributed a number of articles, including pieces exploring intergenerational homelessness in the West, the need for youth homelessness services in outer-suburban and rural areas and more.
To read the April issue of Parity magazine click here.
To read more young peoples’ stories and to donate to Hope Street click here.
To read the April issue of Parity magazine CLICK HERE.To read more young peoples’ stories and to donate to Hope Street CLICK HERE.