- Shepparton Education First Youth Foyer presented its model at the National Housing and Homelessness Forum in Darwin
- The Shepparton chapter has provided housing for more than 200 young people while they pursue study and work
- They anticipate a big spike in demand while rental shortages impact vulnerable young people
“I moved home but I had a relationship break down with dad,” Ms Scott-Hitchcock said.
Not able to live with her father anymore, she became homeless.
When she got the chance to move into Shepparton’s Education First Youth Foyer, everything changed.
Now Ms Scott-Hitchcock is studying a Diploma in Community Services and has managed to buy her own home.
This week she is presenting at the 4th Annual National Housing and Homelessness Forum in Darwin about her experience at the youth foyer, and why more are desperately needed around the country.
More than a place to stay
The Education First Youth Foyer in Shepparton opened in 2016, providing safe and secure accommodation for young people aged between 16 and 24 who are unable to live at home or do not have a stable place to live.
A partnership between Berry Street, Beyond Housing Network, and Go Tafe, the foyer gives stability to young people while they pursue education and work.
They can help about 40 young people at a time, and more than 200 have come through so far.
“It’s not just a roof over their head,” said senior manager Anita McCurdy. “It’s a combination of accommodation where they have their own self-contained unit, but also have the support of the 24-7 team on site.”
There are key workers on site who also help link the young people into other health and wellbeing services, as well as teaching them living skills and helping them make connections in the community.
There are 13 youth foyers around the country, but the Shepparton group was specifically asked to represent the model at the Housing and Homelessness Forum.
“People come and see the Shepparton foyer if they want to learn more about it because we’re pretty spot-on about how we’re doing it,” Ms McCurdy said.
“And I think that’s complimentary of the Shepparton [community] as well, in terms of their engagement and how they’ve taken it on.”
Ms Scott-Hitchcock stayed at the foyer for two years while she was working and studying.
She has since been working there full-time as a youth worker and has just landed a job in Brisbane.
“I had such a great relationship with the foyer that I was able to come back and work there, and that made it so much easier for me to get into this field,” she said.