Victoria Minister for Housing Wendy Lovell
Stepping Ahead With Melbourne Citymission
Victor P Taffa
Housing Minister Wendy Lovell has marked National Homeless Persons’ Week by launching Melbourne Citymission’s new evaluation of its Step Ahead program.
“The theme for National Homeless Persons’ Week this year is Diversity in Homelessness, and that means we are being asked to focus on the fact that homelessness affects many different people families with children, young people, singles and the elderly.” Ms. Lovell said.
“It’s a week when the whole community is encouraged to look at the challenges of homelessness.”
“Today we’re focusing on the role Melbourne Citymission has played in the lives of one of these groups, vulnerable young people, through the Step Ahead Program.” Ms. Lovell said.
Melbourne Citymission’s Step Ahead Youth Foyer Program was the first of its kind in Victoria, and works to help young people with housing and support.
“The Government currently funds step ahead by just over $200,000 p.a. In return for the support they receive, the young people involved in the program take part in education, training, and ultimately employment.” Ms. Lovell said.
“The research report from Victoria University, being launched today, has found the program has prevented transition into chronic or street homelessness for many people.”
“In fact, about 80 % of those involved in the program completed year 12, while 37 % went on to gain tertiary qualifications.” Ms. Lovell said.
“One of the key election commitments of the Coalition Government was the establishment of three 40-bed Youth Foyers in Victoria, and the Step Ahead program is an important forerunner of the Youth Foyer model.”
“I look forward to learning about the future progress of this program and the path the young people in Step Ahead have embarked upon, and I congratulate all involved.” Ms. Lovell said.