Youth Homelessness Matters day is nationally recognised for good reason. Recently released census data stated that 122,487 Australians are experiencing homelessness, of these, over 28,204 are youth aged 12 – 24. This is simply not ok.
We also know that 1,000 people are estimated to be experiencing homelessness every night on the Mornington Peninsula, and 4,000 residents are on public housing waiting lists. Despite urgent pleas from the community, council and government for more public and social housing, it will take years for new buildings to be in place. Young people living in this area are particularly at risk because of the lack of local affordable housing in this region.
“Young people on the Peninsula need our help urgently. Staying on at school is a key goal”
Alex Jarvis – Team Leader of Community Connect
But we are not here to dwell on the negatives. We are here to talk about hope and what we can achieve together.
Owners of Amberlee Four Star Family Holidays, the Neary family, believe that youth homelessness is not acceptable on their watch, and they have put their money where their hearts are. With their seed funding, Lighthouse Foundation will begin to roll out the new Community Connect program on the Mornington Peninsula in mid 2023.
But we desperately need more support to scale the program quickly to meet the growing need. While we can’t entirely solve the issue, there is a great deal we can do NOW to help young people from being entrenched into homelessness.
Lighthouse’s Community Connect program is designed to prevent homelessness before it becomes entrenched. The program aims to increase housing stability for all young people. Though therapeutic case management the Lighthouse team works with the young person, housing providers and other organisations to establish or retain safe, secure and affordable housing, and to grow and connect with their local community. The program also aims to develop the young person’s capacity to self-manage and access support independently.
Alex Jarvis – Team Leader of Community Connect has seen first-hand success of the program and how vital it has been for young people who have been referred into Lighthouse care.
“Since the launch of the program in August last year, our team has been able to support 29 young people from across Metro Melbourne. We have seen the young people flourish in this time, supporting them to remain safe at their current home or helping them to move into alternate accommodation, as well as link in with education, work or community groups. We continue to see a desperate need for preventative housing-focused case management and receive more referrals than we have capacity to pick up”.
Zac, now aged 20, was able to maintain his rental through being supported by Lighthouse to successfully apply for work. He finished the last semester of his Diploma after we helped him get a loan to purchase essential tools. Our Community Connect case manager also encouraged him to join in a local art program that supports his emotional wellbeing and builds his attachment to the local community.”
Alex says “Evidence shows that connection into community transforms a young person’s sense of identity and security and provides opportunities for growth. Our work not only helps these young people who are at risk of homelessness to find housing stability, it also supports them to heal and achieve a sense of belonging in the community.
By donating to Lighthouse Foundation, you’ll be helping us to provide therapeutic, trauma informed support for vulnerable young people experiencing housing instability on the Mornington Peninsula. With your generous help we can continue to provide them with the support and care they need to find a home, thrive and succeed.
Please help us with our program by donating what you can. Gifts $2 and over are tax deductible.