Skip to content

Victoria takes the lead in ending youth homelessness with pioneering 24/7 response

Photo of the street sign for the newly refurbished Frontyard Youth Services 30 May 2019


  • Homelessness in Australia has increased 13.7 percent in the last five years.
  • 39 percent of the Victorians who counted themselves as homeless on 2016 Census night were under the age of 25.
  • Homelessness in young people aged 12-25 has increased by almost 10 per cent in the last ten years –27,683 young people are without a home.

Victoria’s largest youth homelessness service provider, Melbourne City Mission (MCM), is pioneering a 24-hour crisis accommodation centre, with support services around the clock, to help the increasing numbers of young Victorians experiencing homelessness.

Located in Melbourne’s CBD, Frontyard Youth Services is a four-storey building which contains two floors of new crisis accommodation and connected services, designed to disrupt the cycle of youth homelessness in Victoria.

The redeveloped Frontyard is the result of a pioneering model, the first in the country to combine crisis accommodation with multiple support services, all under one roof operating 24 hours, 7 days a week.

"Only a fully-integrated service will effectively meet the needs of our most marginalised young people with complex needs who are currently falling through the cracks of silo-ed service systems," says Vicki Sutton, Chief Executive Officer, Melbourne City Mission.

"The new Frontyard model has been specifically created to offer a trauma-informed response to youth homelessness," says Ms Sutton.

"The redevelopment addresses gaps in the current system. This model is particularly targeted to a group of young people who, due to their tragic life circumstances, experience severe and multiple disadvantage such as mental illness, trauma, disabilities and substance abuse," Ms Sutton said.

"These young people can exhibit challenging behaviours making it hard for them to access many of the services currently available which are not equipped to support their needs. Without appropriate interventions, young people can become further entrenched in long-term homelessness and disadvantage. The pioneering Frontyard model aims to break this cycle by supporting young people to create a future where they can experience all the benefits of life we often take for granted." Ms Sutton said.

City of Melbourne Lord Mayor Sally Capp said Council has been supporting Frontyard Youth Services since 1990.

"Homelessness is one of the biggest issues facing our city right now. That’s why we’re providing support for young people experiencing homelessness by investing $480,000 in Melbourne City Mission and their new Frontyard Youth Service," the Lord Mayor said.

"This fantastic service provides a safe and welcoming space in the central city for young people aged between 16 and 25 to receive support and engage with services. These caring and holistic programs are crucial in ensuring young people don’t get stuck in a cycle of homelessness."

"After a four-year journey, including 18 months of construction, we are ready to open our doors at last. And we could not have bought this to life without the support of the Victorian Government and our valued and generous supporters." Ms Sutton concluded.

Interview opportunities

  • Vicky Sutton, Chief Executive Officer, Melbourne City Mission
  • Wayne Merritt, General Manager, Youth Homelessness & Justice

Watch our video to see how it all came about

Images from the inside of Frontyard
Back to top