MCM undertakes purposeful advocacy at all levels – government, private sector and community. We work closely with the sector to advocate for positive social change.
You can read our policy and research submissions below.
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Current policy frameworks have not been effective in reducing youth homelessness in Victoria. Young people have distinctive pathways into, and experiences of homelessness compared to other cohorts. Youth-specific responses are required to best support the needs of Victorian young people and assist their transition to adulthood in a well-supported trajectory. This Position Paper presents the findings of a review undertaken by the Australian Housing and Urban Research Institute (AHURI) for Melbourne City Mission (MCM). The focus of the review is on the existing Victorian youth homelessness system and policy environment that guides the delivery of support services available to young people experiencing homelessness. Findings of the Paper aim to inform discussion about the possible need for and potential focus of a youth homelessness strategy for Victoria, and the delivery of effective outcomes for Victoria’s young people experiencing homelessness.
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Young people are a significant group experiencing homelessness in Victoria. Compared to older cohorts, young people have distinctive pathways into, and experiences of homelessness. To effectively meet the needs of young people a youth-specific homelessness strategy is required in Victoria. This Final Report presents the research findings for the project Towards a Youth Homelessness Strategy for Victoria by the Australian Housing and Urban Research Institute (AHURI) for Melbourne City Mission (MCM). The Final Report synthesises the findings of the Positioning Paper and the deliberations of the Investigative Panel facilitated by AHURI. The findings and recommendations of the Positioning Paper formed the basis of a focused panel discussion between sector leaders and the policy community (Investigative Panel) that considered what strategic policy framework is required to support young people experiencing homelessness in Victoria most effectively.
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The next National Plan must recognise children and young people as victim survivors in their own right. MCM welcomes the opportunity to make a submission on the development of the next National Plan to Reduce Violence against Women and their Children (next National Plan) and commends the Australian Government on maintaining this important focus. The increased focus on preventing and responding to family violence across Australia is strongly welcomed, however despite this focus, young people who are experiencing family violence, continue to fall through the cracks of the system. They are too often seen as extensions of their parents or carers for the purposes of support. The gap in responses for young people is widely recognised by the family violence sector, as is the lack of practice guidance for working with young people.
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MCM welcomes the opportunity to provide comment on the Victorian Government’s 10-Year Social and Affordable Housing Strategy (Strategy) Discussion Paper and congratulates the Victorian Government’s significant investment of $5.3billion in social and affordable housing. Despite the significant injection of stock under Victoria’s Big Housing Build, the overall scale of the challenge facing young people experiencing homelessness in Victoria will be broadly unchanged. That is, unless a supported housing system is created for young people that ensures access to a safe and secure home with appropriate supports in place — providing them with a pathway to independence.
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Last year, over 15,000 young people in Victoria sought support from Specialist Homelessness Services and there are countless others who are couch surfing and are not yet known to services. In addition to a lack of secure housing, homelessness during adolescence means disconnection from supportive and nurturing relationships with parents or caregivers that enable young people to build the confidence and capability to transition to adulthood. This submission draws on consultation sessions with young people and consultation with MCM’s homelessness practitioners to build a deeper understanding of young people’s experiences of homelessness in Victoria, and address how Victoria’s systems can better support young people experiencing homelessness to reach their full potential.