MCM’s Youth Housing Initiative (YHI) is an innovative pilot response to the significant gap in Victoria’s support services system for young people with medium to high support needs who are experiencing homelessness.
YHI is a 4-year integrated support and housing program that aims to help young people effectively transition to adulthood and permanently exit homelessness with significant personal and economic benefits. The program builds the independence and resilience of young people to address the complex personal and structural causes of their homelessness over a sustained support period.
The focus is on enabling the young person to gain the confidence, and financial capability to exit into the private rental and away from subsidised, supported housing resulting not only in improved individual wellbeing, but also significant government savings.
Young people do not choose to become homeless. For many, the daily reality and burden of family violence, abuse, neglect, mental illness, substance abuse, unemployment, gambling, and the disadvantages of poverty force them to flee the family home in search of a safer option.
Homelessness is not a choice. It often arises from a confluence system challenges, individual vulnerabilities, and trigger events.
Factors such as market forces that make rental housing unaffordable, discrimination in the rental system, and the many social and health drivers of disadvantage (e.g. disabilities, abuse, trauma, and others) have created a seemingly intractable problem for young people in Victoria. As a result, many young people progress to the adult homelessness system, where they are at higher risk of becoming entrenched in the homelessness population.
Quantitative and qualitative research, including young people with lived experience, confirmed a severe lack of affordable housing. Further disadvantaged and at risk are young people with medium to high support needs due to enduring significant trauma.
Young people who become homeless are likely to have experienced family violence, high levels of mental distress, disruption from school, employment, community, and other pro-social connections.
First Nations young people and those with mental health illness, justice and family/domestic violence histories and out of home care (OOHC), are all overrepresented in the youth homelessness system.
Homelessness can profoundly affect a person’s mental and physical health, education and employment opportunities, and ability to participate fully in society.
Based on the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) 2021 Census homelessness data, 23% of Australia’s homeless or 28,204 young people aged 12-24 don’t have a safe or secure place to call home. Of these, 7,628 young people are experiencing homelessness in Victoria – most of whom are in Melbourne. In one of the world’s most liveable cities, this is unacceptable. Young people experiencing homelessness are often hidden from view, sleeping on couches, in cars, refuges or in overcrowded houses.
The three pillars of the YHI model are housing, therapeutic support and personal development.
The YHI will work with young people aged 18-24 who have experienced homelessness, have complex needs, and require a level and length of support not currently available.
Population subsets that are overrepresented in the target cohort include young people who:
MCM engaged the services of Social Ventures Australia (SVA) to analyse the financial costs of the program, based on outcomes metrics, against the expected fiscal savings to government. The YHI target cohort are high consumers of government services and support across a range of expenditure areas. SVA predicts that State and Commonwealth Governments will generate a saving in service system usage including homelessness, health and justice of $15.6m or $222,000 per person through this vital YHI project.
Monash University will gather evidence about the impact of the program and the significant economic, community and individual benefits. This evidence will form the cornerstone to significantly scale up this model, thereby driving lasting growth and systemic change to a need with a solution.
As a for-purpose organisation, MCM requires significant financial investment from government, philanthropists, and individuals to start this positive ripple effect with lasting systemic change for those whose lives will be positively impacted and the broader community.
The YHI has been established to address a chasm in youth homeless services. It will deliver both individual positive pathways as well as significant long-term economic benefits. After conducting our own due diligence, we have personally committed to supporting this important initiative and we encourage you to do the same. We know MCM’s innovative pilot program will positively transform the lives of some of the most vulnerable young people in our community and know that immediate action is required. MCM are experts in youth homelessness and have framed this model with a deep understanding of the complexity of support needed to tackle and restore the rights of all young people who have endured significant trauma to have a safe place to call home. We encourage you to join us and support MCM’s pilot Youth Housing Initiative.
Our vision is bold, and it needs to be. Young people entering our services have been exposed to significant traumas such as family violence, abuse, and neglect during the early years of their lives. This impacts their mental health, brain development and ability to make social and community connections. We know that positive societal change has at its core a combination of human insights and research-based evidence. Only then can we create new and innovative solutions that disrupt systems to ultimately empower and enhance young people’s lives. MCM’s Youth Housing Initiative pilot program will work beside disadvantaged youth to enable them to live independently.
|Dr John Singleton Trust
|Two Sister's Foundation
|Joe White Bequest
|Samuel Nissen Foundation
|The Ross Trust
General Manager – Philanthropy and Partnerships
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