Construction begins on facility for homeless youth
The creation of a world-first facility that will support homeless and in-crisis youth has begun recently in Melbourne. The project has seen a number of property industry heavyweights step up to support it, in partnership with the Victorian government.
Construction on the $8 million project commenced earlier in July, and will provide intensive support and crisis accommodation for young Melburnians sleeping rough.
The goal is to transform Frontyard, Melbourne City Mission’s largest early intervention and crisis service for young people who are experiencing or are at risk of homelessness, into a 24/7 service with new and expanded supports. The updated facilities will offer two floors of crisis accommodation for young people experiencing hardship and on-site mental health, drug, alcohol and disability expertise.
Vicki Sutton, CEO of Melbourne City Mission, says, “For 29 years, Melbourne City Mission and Frontyard have been there for young people when they have had nowhere else to turn. The new Frontyard is designed to disrupt the cycle of homelessness for Victoria’s most vulnerable and hard to reach young people.”
As part of the new world-first model, Frontyard will pioneer digital engagement strategies to more effectively connect young people to support, and its team will actively hit the streets to find homeless youths and actively connect them to support services. These new and expanded services will build on more than a dozen existing services at Frontyard, which include primary healthcare, allied health, family violence support, counselling and family meditation, and legal support.
“The Frontyard model of connected support and accommodation is a world-first in terms of providing a comprehensive response to what we know young people need,” Sutton says.
When construction is completed, the new Frontyard will provide a breadth, depth and intensity of support unlike anything else found in the youth homelessness system. The new model of support has been designed to respond to the multiple and complex needs of young people with significant trauma, who experience challenges connecting to support services. Many of the young people who will access the services at the new facility will have been through the child protection system and have had engagement with youth justice. They are likely to experience addiction, cognitive impairment and other disabilities in addition to youth homelessness. Without effective intervention, they are at risk of remaining in crisis long-term, including adult homelessness.
Peter Inge, chairman Property Industry Foundation Victoria, says, “”Our mission at the Property Industry Foundation (PIF) is to work with charities who provide programs that assist at-risk and homeless young people. It is PIF’s plan to nationally create 125 bedrooms over the next 4 years.
“We’re proud to partner with Melbourne City Mission on the new Frontyard project that will provide a world-first 24/7 program with short term accommodation for the most severely marginalised and disadvantaged youth.
“Melbourne City Mission has a long and proven track record in delivering programs and positive outcomes and we are thrilled to be part of the team to deliver the facility for the project.
“A number of consultants in our industry such as Ashurst, Case Meallin, Urbis, Slattery, Fender Katsalidis, NDY, Wood & Grieve Engineers, Hendry Group, Equitable Access Solutions, Irwinconsult, and Built have already pledged their support with a plan to provide pro-bono services for the construction project,” Inge says.
Existing Frontyard services will remain open throughout the redevelopment, at a temporary site at 244 Flinders Street in Melbourne. The new Frontyard will open up at 19 King Street in early 2019.
The project was made possible by an innovative partnership between Melbourne City Mission and the Victorian Government, philanthropists including The Peter and Lyndy White Foundation, and the property industry through the Property Industry Foundation.
Lead image: 123RF’s Roman Bodnarchuk © 123RF.com