Our target group is 15 - 22 year olds who are at risk in their current living arrangements. A sense of desire and willingness to adhere to Lighthouse guidelines is a key focus for acceptance into the Lighthouse Program.
Lighthouse accommodates young people in suburban homes within the Melbourne metropolitan area and regional Victoria. The Lighthouse Foundation took possession of its first home early in 1994.
The Lighthouse policy is to take in a young person for as long as it takes them to reintegrate into the community. This may take months for some, or years for others.
Lighthouse offers "life membership" and all young people qualify for this opportunity. The form and nature of the life membership reflects the capacity within the individual young person.
They are young people ‘at risk’ with personal safety issues that contribute to their homelessness. They frequently come from a background of abuse, neglect and exploitation. They present with complex problems including: mental illness; general health problems; substance abuse; suicidal tendencies; unemployment; limited education, life and social skills; financial disadvantage; challenging and anti-social behaviour; a juvenile justice history and psychological adjustment difficulties.
Psychological assessment of the young people that use the Lighthouse services reveal that many suffer from some degree of psychiatric pathology. The most common of these are Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, Depression Dissociative Disorder and Borderline Personality Disorder.
In every circumstance the safety and security of the young person is of primary concern. And while every effort is made to maintain or reconcile family relationships, safety for everyone is Lighthouse’s priority.
Young people are referred from a variety of sources including schools, families, youth welfare organisations, the Department of Human Services, Juvenile Justice System and crisis accommodation services.
There are up to 40 young people living in our ten Lighthouse homes.
Ours is a commitment to both the young people we work with and to our funding partners. Lighthouse is a ‘good investment’. Our sustainability is guaranteed by the innovative approach we have to funding and our non-reliance on one particular funding source. Currently our funds are generated through business partnerships, grants from philanthropic trusts and foundations, donation campaigns, events, business enterprises, and support from wealthy individuals and families.
We have established our own trust fund to generate further sustainable income and will soon be commencing a bequest program. Talks continue with government for financial support but we do not receive any recurrent government funding. The Victorian State Government has provided interest-free loans for the purchase/construction of Lighthouse homes.
Many of our Lighthouse homes are provided rent-free by partners or benefactors. Each Lighthouse home has a voluntary local Community Committee responsible for raising $20,000 towards operating the home.
Lighthouse can only operate with the support of our communities. The model we use is designed to build community into everything that we do.
Each Lighthouse home, supported by its own local Community Committee, is an example of how community can be woven into the lives of our young people – using community to help them build positive futures.
Volunteers from a range of professional backgrounds are enlisted to support the young people’s specific needs (eg recreation, tutoring, mentoring). Where it is not possible to provide these services using volunteers, funds are raised to cover the cost of the services required.
People in the community are very supportive of Lighthouse and its young people. Local businesses provide goods, and volunteers garden, cook and ‘grandparent’ the young people. For many of our young people Lighthouse is their first experience of traditional family/community life.
We place high value on the safety and protection of our young people and we stringently screen all paid and unpaid staff prior to commencement of service.
Highly successful! The majority of our young people have managed their anxiety, addictions and symptoms and have progressed into the job market, developed supportive relationships and secured membership into the broader community.
The number of homeless young people is escalating, representing a crisis in our community. Lighthouse supports the concept of empowering young people to make better life choices, be entrepreneurial, and cease to be victims of their circumstances. We seek to assist young people break the generational cycle of welfare dependency.
The Lighthouse Foundation model demonstrates that it is possible to work co-operatively to achieve a common end - to care for our young. Everyone needs a community and requires a sense of belonging in order to achieve a sense of worth and meaning in life.
ABN: 12 101 549 508