Concern Australia delivers a range of services to at risk students who have been homeless or at risk of becoming homeless under their STEPS Outreach program, in partnership with the LLEN and the RE Ross Trust. This partnership has been going for several years and has matured into a successful model of service delivery enabling opportunities for continuous improvement resulting in the development in 2018 of a new initiative to support those students at risk of becoming homeless who were also previous or current Out of Home Care (OoHC) residents.
The creation of the 'Hope for the Future’ project provides intensive, holistic support for young people who are currently experiencing homelessness and have been in outof-home care with the aim of helping them to achieve positive future outcomes and to lead a successful life. Typically, young people who have or are experiencing homelessness and have previously been in out-of-home care (OoHC), are often hard to engage, exhibiting complex issues and often have little connection to the mainstream community. This project aims to bridge the gaps they have and provides long-term relational support with a worker the young person can trust and rely on and is based on a client centred, strengths approach.
The program relies on very slow little steps towards supporting the young person to transition out of poverty and homelessness and into employment, education and housing. Existing relationships with a range of services to embed support and help at the right moment is crucial to the sucess of the program. The LLEN is involved in components of the end service delivery and bringing organisations together who can support the pathway of these most vulnerable young people. We also attend regular meetings to discuss progress of the project.
In August we also supported Concern Australia to hold and exhibit the results of a secondary school student photography exhibition based on the homelessness theme. This is an applied learning exercise designed to raise student awareness of the plight of people less well off than them and raise awareness of the issues and precursors that lead to homelessness, specifically youth homelessness. The students art work and photographs were printed onto T-Shirts and displayed at an exhibition held at the Kathleen Syme Library in Carlton. The LLEN also partnered with Concern Australia who allowed us to use the student design on our 2018 Christmas cards.