Foyers originated in France in the late 1800s and were first established in the UK in 1992. Their success has led to the adoption of Foyers in Australia, Ireland, the US, Romania, Netherlands and Germany.
The term “foyer” means hearth in French, and it is used to describe establishments that offer accommodation and support (including job search services, in UK Foyers) to young residents in need.
In the UK, Foyers are promoted through the Foyer Federation, a partnership between businesses and homelessness agencies. More than 130 Foyers now operate in the UK and 470 throughout France.
Australian Foyers were first established in 2001, with Miller Live and Learn in western Sydney, and Southern Youth and Family Services in Wollongong.
In 2008, St John’s Youth Service in Adelaide established the Australian Foyer Foundation.
The Foundation aims to ensure Australian Foyers receive the support, quality assurance and accreditation they need to grow and thrive. The UK Foyer Federation has partnered with the Foyer Foundation to assist these activities.
What is a Youth Foyer?
Foyers are learning and student accommodation centres for young people who are homeless or at risk of becoming homeless.
They are designed for young people with the capacity to engage in education and training, but who are prevented from participating due to structural, institutional and/or personal barriers.
Foyers aim to assist residents to develop the skills they need to lead fulfilling, independent and productive lives. They achieve this by providing the time, personal attention, mentoring, coaching and access to opportunities needed to develop education and training pathways to employment and independent living.
Some Foyers are co-located and structurally linked with TAFE campuses and other mainstream educational settings. Beyond education and affordable accommodation, Foyers link young people to health, employment, and wellbeing supports, and opportunities for social participation.
Foyers aim to:
- Reduce the number of young people cycling through the housing and homelessness system
- Increase the number of young people completing education qualifications
- Increase the number of young people productively employed
Around 75% of Foyer residents leave with full-time work, or on their way to university.
The 5 Core Features of Youth Foyers
- A ‘Deal’
- Home First
- Promotes talents and aspirations
- Provides networks and opportunities
- Community Resources
A Foyer must provide a two-way, ‘something-for-something’ deal between the Foyer and the young person. The young person has to undertake to become engaged in education and/or employment and the Foyer has to undertake to source and provide the necessary support for the young person to meet their end of the deal. Both the young person and the Foyer must be able to enforce this deal.
While staying at a Foyers is time-limited, it provides a ‘home first’ approach for young people, providing the elements of a home that all young Australians need to achieve. The model must be holistic, and demonstrate service and support relationships that at a minimum include:
- An affordable, safe home
- Education and training
- Employment, including career search
- Living Skills
- Health and Wellbeing
- Connection to Community
Promotes talents and aspirations
Foyers move away from service models that focus on disadvantage. Instead, they seek to understand and promote the aspirations of young people and the development of young peoples’ talents.
Provides networks and opportunities
Foyers recognise that for young people to reach their potential they need to be provided with a range of networks and opportunities to do so. Foyers need to demonstrate that they source and offer access to a range of opportunities that enable young people to meet their aspirations.
Foyers need to show that they are engaged with and work to ensure young people can access local community resources and networks. This includes local sporting, cultural and community groups.
Why are Foyers needed?
Youth Foyers have a core focus on education, while providing secure and affordable housing as a means of enabling young people to focus on their studies. The model also provides young people with opportunities to develop career aspirations, to gain an experience of work, to build their networks and to build a pathway to sustainable employment.
The Foyers provide a targeted investment in young people by providing these opportunities while also building on their strengths, and providing them with the support, skills and tools necessary for them to become independent adults.
Where are Foyers located in Australia?
In Australia there are approximately 14 Foyers or Foyer-type services across all states and territories except Tasmania and the Northern Territory. They accommodate between 10 to 110 young people under various models such as networked or mixed accommodation options.
Foyer Oxford provides up to 98 young people experiencing homelessness or at risk of homelessness with fully self-contained transitional housing for up to two years, combined with 24 /7 individualised support and opportunities to access education, training and employment. Foyer Oxford is a consortium of Anglicare WA, Foundation Housing Ltd and the Central Institute of Technology.
196 Oxford Street, Leederville WA 6007
1800 185 685
Education First Youth Foyer – Holmesglen
Run in partnership between Hanover and the Brotherhood of St Laurence, this Foyer provides student-style accommodation on Holmesglen TAFE’s Waverley campus. With education at the heart of the model the Foyer accommodates up to 40 young people in Melbourne’s south east.
629 Waverley Road, Glen Waverley VIC 3150
03 9564 6488
Education First Youth Foyer – Broadmeadows
Run in partnership between Hanover and the Brotherhood of St Laurence, this Foyer provides student-style accommodation on Kangan TAFE’s Broadmeadows campus. With education at the heart of the model the Foyer accommodates up to 40 young people in Melbourne’s northwest.
30 Cavendish Street, Broadmeadows 3047
T 03 9309 3946
F 03 9309 9254
Ladder Hoddle Street
Ladder Hoddle Street is a Foyer operated in partnership with Ladder, Melbourne City Mission and YarraCommunity Housing to provide secure accommodation and tailored support programs for them to gain the skills, opportunities and experiences to work towards independent living. Accommodating up to 12 young people, this Foyer is located in Melbourne’s inner-north.
15 Hoddle Street, Collingwood VIC 3066
03 9416 0064
Ladder, in partnership with Time For Youth and Yarra Community Housing operate a dispersed foyer in Geelong supporting up to 15 young people. Tailored development programs, mentoring relationships and direct links to employment opportunities are provided in integration with case management services.
PO BOX 3032, Waurn Ponds, VIC 3216
T 03 9416 0064
Foyer Warrnambool is run by Brophy Family and Youth Services and provides supported accommodation for up to two years for youth people aged 16 – 24. Foyer Warrnambool aims to break the cycle of poverty and unemployment by providing affordable housing, and improve education and employment pathways.
210 Timor St Warrnambool 3280 Victoria
T 03 5561 8888
Karrung Foyer (Ballarat)
The Karrung Foyer is run by UnitedCare and is an integrated housing and support program for young people aged 16-25 years. It provides support to eligible young people from the Grampians region to engage in education, employment and training with the aim of moving towards independence and the prevention of future homelessness. Young people can stay in the program for up to two years.
T 03 5339 8299
Ladder St Vincent Street
Ladder St Vincent Street is a partnership between Ladder, St John’s Youth Services and Housing SA. It aims to provide secure accommodation and tailored support programs for up to 23 young people to gain the skills, opportunities and experiences to work towards independent living.
1 Marryatt Street, Port Adelaide, SA 5015
T 08 8447 1090
Logan Youth Foyer Support Service
The Logan Youth Foyer Support Service (LYFSS) provides supported accommodation and case management for single young people aged 16-25 years who are engaged in education and training. The program is partners with Horizon Housing Company and Career Keys.
T 07 3208 4801
The Our Place live, learn, achieve program provides supported accommodation for young people aged 16 – 21, who are engaged in education and training. The program is managed by a partnership of Barnardos and Anglicare in Canberra.
New South Wales
The Illawarra Youth Foyer Project is run by Southern Youth and Family Services, it provides medium to long term supported housing for homeless or at risk of homelessness young people aged 16 to 23 years of age inclusive who are in engaged in or preparing to engage in education, training and pre-employment and employment support.
T 02 4228 5425 or 02 4228 5838 or 02 4228 4907
The Foyer journey starts with a young person making a personal commitment to change their life, and apply to live in a learning environment that will support them in achieving their goals.
Services and operations
Foyers are staffed 24/7 by professional support workers. Led by a Manager, a team of tenancy, administrative, support and security staff work together to provide a safe environment and personal support to every Foyer resident.
Tenancy Officers manage the allocation of apartments, monitor rental payments, co-ordinate response to maintenance issues with the property manager and provide tenancy advice and support to Foyer residents.
Foyer Support Workers provide individual case management to the Foyer residents. They conduct initial reviews of applications, provide induction to the Foyer program, instigate life skills training and links to mainstream education, establish individual Foyer Resident and Learning Contracts, case plan resettlement, and provide support to move out to independence.
Previous Foyer experiences show that around 75% of residents leave with full-time work, or on their way to university. Resettlement support continues up to 18 months or until the young person is confident in living without it.
On-site security staff supervise entry and exit of all residents, staff and visitors, and monitor the Foyer building 24 hours a day. They are backed by security systems that include card access and CCTV monitoring of public and common spaces.
The physical location of a Foyer is critical to its success; it must be centrally located to public transport, education, training and work opportunities. Some Australian Foyers are co-located at educational facilities such as TAFEs.