Media releases

VU researchers working with partners to assist homeless youth

Victoria University researchers are partnering with Hope Street Youth and Family Services to evaluate a new Hope to Home pilot in Melton and Whittlesea.

The Hope to Home pilot model focuses on facilitating long-term, affordable housing, along with providing emotional support, and assisting youth with finding employment.

An evaluation team, including VU’s Dr Peter Gill and Dr Daniel Ooi from the Institute for Health and Sport, have worked with Hope to Home to gather data which will help with implementing and assessing the current model.

The Hope to Home pilot housed 72 people, including 45 young people and 27 children. Most clients had previously experienced temporary or unsustainable accommodation, but, by the end of the program, the overwhelming majority of participants felt the pilot was a huge success.

“It was important to make sure the housing support and services catered to the clients' individual needs, and included help with finding housing, inspections, application process, liaising with landlords, securing properties (bond and rent), and setting up the house for occupancy. By participating in the program, young people developed a rental history, as well as gaining crucial knowledge and skills relating to securing and maintaining leases.”

– Dr Peter Gill, Psychologist, Victoria University.

The Hope to Home pilot was supported by Gandel Philanthropy, the Lord Mayor’s Charitable Foundation, the City of Melton, the City of Whittlesea, Raine and Horne real estate, Ray White real estate, Barry Plant real estate, and Woodgrove shopping centre.

Dr Daniel Ooi, Dr Peter Gill (Lecturer Psychology) and Donna Bennett (Hope Street CEO) are available for interview and can talk about the following points:

  • Barriers stopping youth from accessing housing
  • Why ‘rental education’ is important
  • How the pilot program supports growth corridors in Melbourne, especially in Melton and Whittlesea areas
  • Ripple effects: how relationships between youth and community helps reduce stigma

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