Anticipation is growing for all involved in Frontyard’s pioneering development, as it’s only a matter of weeks until doors open for young people experiencing disadvantage.
A service new to Frontyard is the Assertive Outreach Program, which aims to engage hard-to-reach groups of young people who are either homeless or facing homelessness, by providing seamless transitions into safe and secure crisis accommodation.
Led by the Intensive Support Work team, in partnership with other staff members across Frontyard, the program will support young people who may have experienced trauma when accessing services in the past, who may have disengaged from services altogether or may have never received support, but desperately need it.
The program will have multiple touchpoints; from engaging young people already known to Frontyard, proactive street outreach and working with other services where disengaged and homeless young people are known to spend time, such as adult drop-in centers and food kitchens.
Frontyard Operations Manager, Rob Hosking, discusses how the new service will alter the way Frontyard engages with young people, saying: "The Assertive Outreach Program involves purposeful, proactive and persistent engagement, providing support and intervention to young people in places where they are most comfortable. The program will have a real focus on young people who are rough sleeping in the CBD and who have disconnected from services completely."
"This program will allow Frontyard to have a presence on the streets of Melbourne and within in key locations where young people spend time. It will also continue an open conversation with young people who experience challenges when accessing services onsite. As a truly beneficial service, we’re able to support young people who benefit from less structured and restrictive engagement styles."
The final stages of the Frontyard redevelopment are taking shape, with the team working hard to complete the finishing touches to make Frontyard an accessible and comfortable space for both young people and employees.
Brendan Watts, Project Manager at Case Meallin, has provided the latest update on progress, saying "The countdown is truly on and we’re all excited to open the doors of Frontyard very soon".
"The crisis accommodation floors on level 1 and 2 are now complete, the lift is fully operational and joinery, glazing and flooring are all being installed. Another focus is completing the final touch-ups to the ground floor and basement, which are key areas where many young people will spend time."
Frontyard is being made possible through a collaboration of government, philanthropy and industry as well as the generosity of the many external consultants, contractors and suppliers through the Property Industry Foundation.
One of these consultants is multi-disciplinary engineering consultancy, Irwinconsult, who enthusiastically jumped onboard to help with the Frontyard redevelopment. The engineering firm has provided consulting services in waste engineering and management, plus carried out a peer review of the structural plans.
Brad Parker, Senior Engineer at Irwinconsult, is working on the project as the waste consultant. He worked alongside the team of engineers and designers to review the plans and create an efficient waste strategy.
"Cost-saving is a key aspect of Frontyard's ongoing operations, so it was important to incorporate this into the waste strategy. I decided to approach the City of Melbourne on MCM’s behalf to see if the council could absorb the waste and garbage disposal costs. They happily agreed, resulting in roughly $10,000 savings in operating costs, which can now be redistributed to Frontyard's services for at-risk and homeless young people," says Brad.
"Homelessness is a crisis and one that we encounter day to day. As the engineering, architecture and building community, we can and should be using our expertise to help out the community we live and work in. It’s so important that foundations like Property Industry Foundation bring together top-tier players in the industry to help organisations such as MCM. Irwinconsult is proud to assist MCM on this important project," he adds.
Frontyard is the result of a community partnership and we want to thank our philanthropic partners for supporting the build of a fully integrated 24/7 youth crisis accommodation centre.
This month we spoke with one of our partners, Vedran Drakulic OAM, who is the CEO of Gandel Philanthropy.
Gandel Philanthropy has supported Melbourne City Mission with several grants and donations since 1991. Its Flagship Grant supports Frontyard’s redevelopment and totals $600,000.
As one of Australia’s largest private family philanthropic funds, Gandel Philanthropy’s vision is to create a positive and lasting difference in people’s lives. They are strong supporters of organisations and initiatives which tackle homelessness and aim to prevent and break the cycle of youth homelessness.
"Frontyard provides a blueprint for a comprehensive, wrap-around support model for young people facing homelessness. It is an integrated approach supporting basic living needs 24/7 as well as addressing more complex challenges through in-depth and multidisciplinary support for young people’s physical health, mental health and their social, educational and employment goals."
"The project attracted strong support from the philanthropic sector, the Victorian Government and 14 businesses. We are thrilled to team up with The Lord Mayor’s Charitable Foundation, The Peter and Lyndy White Foundation, The Andrew and Geraldine Buxton Foundation and the Property Industry Foundation to make Melbourne City Mission’s vision for Frontyard a reality", said Vedran Drakulic OAM, CEO of Gandel Philanthropy.