Lighthouse recognises that community is essential to the wellbeing of young people, and that connecting a young person to community creates spaces to develop their social skills and a sense of belonging. Lighthouse’s Community Connect Program stems from our commitment to creating circles of safety around a young person, so that they are never without care or support. Evidence shows that connection into community transforms a young person’s sense of identity and security, and provides opportunities for growth. It also creates trauma-informed communities, which are better placed to nurture vulnerable young people. Community Connect was established in 2022 and adopts an innovative program design allowing Lighthouse to assist young people aged 16-25 located across Melbourne who are experiencing housing instability (from at-risk to rough sleeping) to access therapeutic case management including outreach support and referrals, as well as items like clothing, food, toiletries and furniture.
One of the key goals of Community Connect is to increase housing stability for young people. Lighthouse works with the young person as well as housing providers and other organisations to secure safe, comfortable and stable housing, which gives the young person a strong and supportive base from which to learn, grow and connect with their local community. The program also aims to develop the young person’s capacity to self-manage and access supports independently. This requires a strong and nurturing relationship between the case manager and the young person, in order to build a sense of safety, self-worth, empowerment, choice and personal agency. Young people in the program have access to Lighthouse’s Youth Resource Centre (YRC), which includes a kitchen, laundry, bathroom, private spaces for clinical consultation, and is the central point for many youth events and activities. Outside of YRC, young people are able to access support directly through their Therapeutic Case Manager in their local community.