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The Property Industry Foundation has provided $192,000 in beneficiary funding to Hope Street First Response Youth Service – supported crisis accommodation in Whittlesea, Victoria.

Hope Street First Response Youth Service in the City of Whittlesea is a purpose-built 12-bedroom centre that will provide crisis accommodation to 100 young people each year. The Foundation’s beneficiary contribution will fund 8 bedrooms; each with an ensuite in the communal refuge living building. “This funding will build and provide the fixtures for this vital part of the project,” says Donna Bennett, CEO. “It will see up to 88 young people have a safe home each year.”

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“The Foundation is delighted to provide funding for the Hope Street First Response Youth Service in the City of Whittlesea as part of our charity beneficiary program, which supports initiatives that have a tangible impact on youth homelessness,” says the Foundation’s Victorian State Manager Priscilla Heathwood. “On census night 2021, 854 people were recorded as being homelessness in the City of Whittlesea alone – this much-needed service provides support to vulnerable youth and families and helps stop the destructive cycle of homelessness.”

The centre is also supported by State Government Homes Victoria Big Build Youth Housing Grant, a City of Whittlesea land lease, and Mirvac, who will donate landscaping. The result will be an architecturally designed 8-bedroom communal living building and two 2-bedroom units for young families, with one unit allocated specifically for young Aboriginal families. Specialist services at Hope Street include trauma informed strengths based expert case managers, an after hours crisis response, Living Skills 101 program, and brokerage to provide young people and young families with immediate emergency relief, medical care, clothing and private rental establishment costs.

“Young people experiencing homelessness not only need a roof over their head, but also practical support to address the issues that caused or contributed to their homelessness and the impact of being homeless,” says Donna. “The First Response Youth Service will provide stability and a safe and secure space for young people and young families to begin to focus on more than day-to-day survival.  Instead, they can begin their recovery, reflect, plan and create a pathway to achieving their immediate and short-term goals.”

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Fantastic progress is being made on the Hope Street building site, with the roof scheduled to go on soon and a goal to open the doors to young people by the end of 2024, prior to Christmas. “Community is at the heart of Hope Street’s response to the crisis of child and youth homelessness in Victoria,” says Donna.

“This First Response Youth Service Centre features a majestic 500-year-old Red River Gum signifying  connection to Wurundjeri country. It features a designated family unit for Aboriginal kinship and culture to remain strong, large windows to optimise natural light; art and craft space; open plan living; visibility to landscaped gardens from all windows; warm and soothing materials; water features, and gardens that grow nutritious home-grown vegetables and herbs. It recognises that belonging to community and connection to country and natural environment is vital for a young person and child’s wellbeing and development.”

“Hope Street First Response Youth Service will assist and empower young people and young families who are experiencing homelessness, to secure a safe place to call home and begin to rebuild their life.”

Donna Bennett, CEO, Hope St Youth and Family Services

Hope Street Youth and Family Services is one of the longest established specialist youth homelessness service providers in Victoria, with over 40 years’ experience delivering responsive services to young people in local communities in the state’s northern and western metropolitan regions.

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