Minister Opens Bendigo Family Reconciliation Statewide Conference

Minister Opens Bendigo Family Reconciliation Statewide Conference

Victoria Minister for Housing Wendy Lovell

Family Mediation Can Help Prevent Homelessness

Victor P Taffa

Minister for Housing Wendy Lovell today opened the Family Reconciliation Mediation Program annual statewide conference in Bendigo, which will raise awareness of the impacts of trauma on young people who have experienced homelessness.

One of the main aims of the conference is to prevent young people from becoming homeless by providing valuable information on the Family Reconciliation Mediation Program (FRMP) to workers supporting young people.

Ms. Lovell said the FRMP is a statewide Victorian Government funded early intervention program administered by Melbourne City Mission for young people aged 15 to 25.

“Family conflict is seen as one of the main reasons for young people leaving home prematurely and becoming homeless.” Ms. Lovell said.

“Without a home it is difficult to keep a job, pursue education and training, maintain physical and mental health or get access to important community services.”

“According to the 2006 Census, more than 20,000 Victorians were experiencing Homelessness.” Ms. Lovell said.

“31% were aged between 12 and 24 years, and of those 14 % were under 12 years of age.”

To date 2,056 young people have been assisted by the FRMP with two thirds representing females (63%) and more than a third representing males (37%).

“Through FRMP we are able to support those young people and improve their relationship with family by introducing mediation, counselling and family therapy to help them avoid homelessness.”

“There are a variety of interventions to support young people.” Ms. Lovell said.

“If it is safe and appropriate, the home is the ideal place for young people as it offers stability and security, and an opportunity to focus on education.”

Ms. Lovell said the Government is looking at a number of ways to reduce the incidents of homelessness in Victoria.

“Partnerships with the community sector, other government departments, business and philanthropic groups are and will continue to be critical to achieving this aim.” Ms. Lovell said.

“We are working with the Brotherhood of St. Laurence and Hanover Welfare Services to set up a Youth Foyer program, made up of three 40 bed Youth Foyers in areas of high need in Melbourne and Regional Victoria.” Ms. Lovell said.

“The Foyers will provide education, training and general support to young people who are homeless, or at risk of homelessness, while giving them medium-term accommodation in a safe, supportive environment.” Ms. Lovell said.