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New refuge for young people experiencing homelessness to rise in Wyndham

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West Refuge for young people experiencing homelessness in Melbourne

Homelessness not-for-profit Melbourne City Mission (MCM) is redeveloping and relocating one of its youth refuge services to Werribee to support young people experiencing homelessness in Melbourne’s inner west.

Together with the Property Industry Foundation, and a $3.5 million investment from the Victorian Government, MCM will open The West Refuge – a high quality, purpose-built youth refuge to break the cycle of youth homelessness.

With two family units to accommodate infants and families, the redevelopment of MCM’s youth refuge will give young people aged 15-25 a chance to grow into adult independence with a level of support they currently don’t have.

MCM’s new youth refuge in Werribee comes as a concerning number of young people are experiencing homelessness in the City of Wyndham, which increased by 76 percent in the last five years. On Census night, 730 people identified as homeless. Of those, 384 – over half – were aged between 12-24 years old (ABS 2016).

MCM Chief Executive Officer Vicki Sutton says the new youth refuge is well placed to respond to the needs of young people who are experiencing homelessness in Melbourne’s western suburbs.

“Through no fault of their own young people often experience homelessness due to family breakdown, neglect and family violence. These experiences, and the experience of homelessness itself, can lead to significant trauma with long-lasting effects including on mental health.

“This refuge will give young people from the west the opportunity to remain connected with their community during this distressing time while being able to access MCM’s programs, including housing support and therapeutic and mental health programs,” Sutton said.

Kate Mills, Chief Executive Officer of The Property Industry Foundation, said “We’re proud to see the property industry rallying around this crucial project, at a time when there is a lack of affordable housing placing more pressure on young people who do not have family support.”

MCM was one of eight community service organisations in 2017 across the state that received funding through the $27 million in funding through phase two of the State Government’s Accommodation for the Homeless program.

The new youth refuge will link with MCM’s suite of programs for young people including its service hub in South Road Braybrook; and other youth supports across Melbourne’s west.

Due for completion by mid-2021, The West Refuge will deliver positive outcomes for young people by: providing emergency and crisis accommodation and 24-hour staffing and support for up to ten young people, two family units to assist young parents and their children, a purpose-built children’s play area, and the capacity to provide young people with education and independent living skill programs on site.

Some of the integrated programs and services young people will access at MCM’s new youth refuge include early intervention programs, parenting, education and living skills programs, therapy using art, music and animals, and housing support. 

Over $465,000 in services have been donated pro-bono to the redevelopment, with 10 companies from the property and building sector committing a huge amount of hours to The West Refuge, with the support of the Property Industry Foundation (PIF): Turner & Townsend/Project Managers, Tract Consultants/Landscape Architects, PLP/Building Surveyors, Morris Goding Access Consulting/ DDA Consultants, Rider Levett Bucknall/ Quantity Surveyors, Nationwide/Security Consultant, WSP/Services, Fire & Structural Engineer, Hacer/Contractor, Maddocks/Legal Consultant. 

 

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