The Liberal Member for Northern Victoria Wendy Lovell has applauded the results of a five-year evaluation into Education First Youth Foyer project, saying the results show how vitally important the centres are for Victoria’s vulnerable youth at risk of recurring homelessness.
The Youth Foyer project was the initiative of Ms Lovell when she was Housing Minister in the Baillieu Coalition Government. The policy was developed in conjunction with former Brotherhood of St Laurence CEO Tony Nicholson and Tony Keenan, the then CEO of Hanover, now known as Launch Housing. Ms Lovell championed the project and provided $31.1m in funding to establish Victoria’s three youth foyers co-located with TAFEs in Glen Waverley, Broadmeadows and Shepparton. Each location provides accommodation for 40 young people aged 16-24 years
Each of the Education First Youth Foyers operate through a partnership that includes a housing provider, a service provider and a TAFE as the key education partner. The Shepparton partnership includes Berry Street, Beyond Housing and GOTAFE. Each student must enter into a mutual obligation contract, agreeing to complete workshops and maintain a school attendance rate of 85%.
The evaluation found that 85% of participants are in work or education the year after leaving the foyer and 75% of all students had completed Year 12, a Certificate III or higher. 76% of all participants had completed a Certificate I in Developing Independence, a course specifically designed for youth foyer residents. Half the participants were now living in their own homes and only 1% were living in crisis accommodation, down from 30% before the program.
The evaluation found that the youth foyers have a net return on investment of $9.91m, meaning the cost benefit to the community is far greater than the cost to run the project.
Comments attributable to Member for Northern Victoria Wendy Lovell:
“I am proud that as Housing Minister in the Baillieu Government that I played a part in establishing the Education First Youth Foyers that are having such a positive impact on our most vulnerable youth.
“The evaluation shows that through the youth foyer program, young Victorian’s are changing their lives for the better. These wonderful results are a credit to the program and the participants and should be welcomed and applauded by all Victorians.”
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