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Youth Housing Initiative: addressing the gap in long-term housing for young people

Youth Housing Initiative 15 August 2023

Having a secure home can offer a sense of belonging, allowing young people to feel connected to a community and build a secure foundation for personal growth.

Stable, secure, and affordable housing is an essential foundation for a young person's mental wellbeing, social connections, education, and employment. However, many young people are not able to access such opportunities, leading to cycles of homelessness and disadvantage. MCM Housing’s mission is to reduce youth homelessness in Victoria and disrupt those disadvantages associated with housing insecurity because every young person should have a place to call home.

We are a registered housing provider, meaning the Victorian Government has certified us to provide social housing to low and very low-income people in need. We believe that pathways to possibility are enabled by secure housing. Just like building a solid foundation for a house - without a sturdy base, the house will not stand. Similarly, without a place to call home, young people may struggle to develop the skills they need to build a successful life.

We are providing much-needed housing and support for young people (aged 18-24 years) that are experiencing or are at risk of homelessness. This includes assisting them to develop skills and confidence for independent living, securing and maintain stable housing and providing access to education, employment and other MCM services.

We began our mission in 2021, and since then we have been working alongside young people and local communities to design, develop, and begin construction on our first two properties. We know there is a gap in long term housing and support options for young people at risk of and experiencing homelessness, particularly for young people who require substantial support to maintain housing in the face of substantial mental health and behavioural issues.

This particular group usually experiences reduced levels of housing assistance, only to later become disqualified or ineligible for services due to their extended and more significant support requirements. Without longer-term housing coupled with effective support, young people are highly likely to become chronically homeless adults with severe and untreated mental health conditions.

We also know there is a further gap in knowledge about what works when supporting these young people to transition through a supportive, long term housing program to independent living. To try and fill these gaps, MCM Housing in conjunction with MCM has developed the Youth Housing Initiative (YHI), which has been designed to support young people experiencing homelessness and other complex needs in the transition to independence.

YHI proposes a way in which housing and support can be delivered to a cohort of young people experiencing homelessness who are currently experiencing the effects of limited medium to long term affordable housing options. YHI will provide three interchangeable levels of housing and support for a period of up to 4 years, allowing young people to more seamlessly and efficiently step up or down in support as they transition to independence.

This is just the beginning.

We plan to expand our housing development initiatives in the coming years, with the goal of being the leading community housing organisation for young people in Victoria.

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