Sunday, 21 April 2024

    Cheap housing for study

    Studying was the last thing on Hayden Willis’ mind during year 12, The Age reports

    The VCE student had bigger things to worry about: his dad was in and out of prison and his parents constantly fought as they went through a messy separation.

    To drown out the chaos at home, the teenager would stay up all night playing video games.

    “I played the games to escape the trouble,” he explained. “It took me to another world.”

    Staff at Hume Central Secondary College intervened after Hayden started skipping school to catch up on sleep.

    They referred the young man to the closest Education First Youth Foyer, an initiative that places young people at risk of homelessness in subsidised housing on TAFE campuses, provided they engage in education.

    A year after exiting the program, 85 per cent of young people were engaged in work or education and three-quarters had completed year 12 or a certificate 3 or higher.

    Half of the participants were living in their own home and just 1 per cent were living in crisis accommodation, down from 30 per cent before the program. Most importantly, nearly all participants reported living in a place where they felt safe.

    Victoria has three Youth Foyers in Glen Waverley, Broadmeadows and Shepparton and each site accommodates up to 40 young people.

    The model is a collaboration between the Brotherhood of St Laurence and Launch Housing and students must sign “a deal” before they move into the studio-style apartments with communal areas.

    They must agree to maintain an attendance rate of at least 85 per cent in their chosen course and complete workshops to improve their life skills, mental health and employment prospects.

    The world-first initiative provides an entirely new approach to youth homelessness, according to Brotherhood of St Laurence executive director Conny Lenneberg.


    A deal Hayden couldn’t refuse: cheap housing in exchange for study (The Age)


    Hayden Willis was at high risk of homelessness. Credit:Jason South