Youth homelessness matters

Youth Homelessness Matters Day is April 20.

According to the 2016 Census, on any given night, 6,000 young Victorians are spending the night without the comfort or safety of their own home.  Homelessness is not only sleeping “rough” on the streets. It can be couch surfing, living in overcrowded accommodation and living in short-term or unsafe housing.

Youth homelessness can be caused by a range of factors and if not resolved quickly can lead to a range of other difficulties, including substance abuse, mental illness and long term homelessness.   

The Unison Housing Research Lab (Lab) Report Who stays, who leaves and why, identifies which Unison tenants are more at risk of early tenancy loss and which cohorts are more likely to sustain a successful social housing tenancy. Young people are a group who are identified as much more likely to have a tenancy end in negative circumstances which places them at significant risk of further homelessness.  

Together with our partners, Unison has several initiatives specifically focused on assisting and establishing vulnerable young people in safe and secure housing at a critical developmental life stage. 

H3 Youth Foyer

Our new supported youth accommodation in the City of Wyndham in partnership with Melbourne City Mission (MCM) and funded by the Victorian Government via the Health, Housing and Homelessness (H3) Alliance, opened its doors in January this year.

The H3 Youth Foyer comprises eight self-contained light filled apartments, with a mix of one- and two-bedroom units. The young residents also have access to on-site support, a communal lounge and an outdoor communal space with barbecue facilities.

We are proud to be able to offer a place that will provide the stability from which vulnerable young people in the City of Wyndham can make choices, seek opportunities, and create links to their community,” Unison CEO James King said.

The MCM onsite support team deliver group programs for residents, facilitate access to education, training and employment and help foster connections within the broader Wyndham community, while working with the young people to develop their independent living skills. 

It’s integral that our services support young people to develop the skills they need to grow into adulthood, while remaining connected to their local community,” MCM CEO Vicki Sutton said.

 Mark Mott, MCM Operations Manager, explained the importance of a stable home for young people. 

 “When young people are experiencing homelessness, instability is experienced in many areas of their life in addition to their housing including financially, emotionally and in their relationships with significant others. MCM Youth Foyers recognises first and foremost the importance of a stable and secure home, and It is from this stability a young person can then begin working on other aspects of their life and empowering them to explore their future aspiration.”

 For further information on the City of Wyndham purpose built youth  accommodation 


About the Health, Housing and Homelessness (H3) Alliance

Established in 2007, the H3 Alliance is a partnership of agencies representing health, housing and homelessness in the Wyndham area which aims to support people who are homeless or at risk of homelessness by offering integrated and collaborative services across the spectrum of housing needs. Working alongside Unison and Melbourne City Mission are Wyndham City Council, Uniting Wyndham, cohealth, Bolton Clarke Homeless Persons Program, Mercy Health - Werribee, WEstjustice, Whitelion, The Salvation Army, Wyndham Community Education Centre and Safe Futures Foundation.  

In December 2016, the H3 Alliance was successful in receiving $15 million from the State Government to deliver a suite of services which include early intervention, crisis and transitional support, youth specific responses, private rental support and assistance for households in mortgage stress. The funding package also included resources to increase the supply of housing in Wyndham, including funding to purpose-build medium-term accommodation for young people in the area.   

The H3 Alliance has added much needed resources to the service system in Wyndham and brought together diverse agencies to work in an integrated fashion to respond to homelessness in this rapidly growing region.  


 Who stays, who leaves and why? Occupancy patterns at Unison Housing between 2014 and 2016 is a report published in 2019 by the Unison Housing Research Lab, authored by Professor Guy Johnson, Susan McCallum and Dr Juliet Watson. Click here to access the full report. 

> If you are experiencing or at risk of homelessness, please call 1800 825 955 (free call, 24/7) at any time to speak with a housing and support worker.

> For further information about Unison’s homelessness services click here

> Information is also available on the Council to Homeless Persons website here

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