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Gippsland Youth Foyer
Why a Youth Foyer

Gippsland is experiencing a significant housing shortage, and low vacancy rate, attributable to the rapid rise in rental prices in the region. This is impacting Gippsland’s most vulnerable, including young people who are locked out of the rental market, and who require a greater level of wrap-around support. With more than 40 applicants for every available transitional housing property (just 16 across the entire region), many young people are being left in dangerous and overcrowded living circumstances.

The Quantum Support Services’ Youth Foyer will support our young people to embed strong community connections and give them skills to lead independent successful lives. By offering an approach that integrates accommodation with learning, employability and personal development, our young people will have choices and a safe place to call home. It allows young people the opportunity to participate in their local community, build social connections with other young people and community members and participate in community activities.

The foyer works with the specialist homelessness sector, community services, schools and health services as a referral pathway. To participate in the foyer, the young person must sign an agreement committing to participating in the programs at the facility including work experience and civic participation. They also commit to working with foyer staff in achieving their goals and aspirations

Youth foyers first emerged in Australia in the early-2000s, with at least 13 successful foyers now located across the country. Victoria boasts regional foyers in Warrnambool, Ballarat and Shepparton. Once established, Quantum’s foyer model will be able to be rolled out in other Gippsland locations to support more of our young people.

Hazelwood House

Quantum identified Hazelwood House, Churchill as a suitable youth foyer location, and the foundation of a ‘Hub and Spoke’ model. Hazelwood House sits on 3 hectares of land and is set back from neighbouring properties. This will provide privacy and reduce the likelihood of any potential impacts to nearby residents.

The facility is in close proximity to shops and transport, as well as education and healthcare facilities. Churchill is home to the Gippsland Education Precinct, which includes Federation University and Kurnai College, making it ideally suited for young people to access a broad range of education and training opportunities.

A re-design of Hazelwood House would see the refurbishment of the existing single level building and the addition of a standalone two-storey extension to the Northern Wing. The renovations would expand the facility to a facility of 39 occupancies with 43 beds. The occupancies would be a mix of single and dual occupancy, with some self-contained units containing full kitchens, and kitchenettes in standard rooms. For standard rooms, the facility will be self-catered through the communal kitchen.

Quantum estimates the cost of the Youth Foyer redevelopment to be approximately $13 million, with various funding opportunities to undertake the works having been identified. The final development plans, timing and funding will be finalised once the purchase is approved.

The Benefits – Economic and Social

The Youth Foyer is expected to see the creation of 12 jobs in the local area, plus flow-on resources as required.
It will support our young people with staff onsite 24/7, including staff active overnight.

There will be economic benefits to the Churchill community, businesses and services with the influx of building contractors throughout the construction and renovation stages, and the introduction of additional residents in the community who will be living at the foyer. Ongoing maintenance of the site will be delivered by local contractors, further contributing to the longer term benefits within Latrobe City and the broader Gippsland region.

As part of our service delivery plan, and based on the Advantaged Thinking model of practice, volunteering in and supporting local community is key to a young person’s connection to community and their ability to build strong relationships to assist them in achieving their goals and aspirations in life. Our Youth Foyer Civic Participation component requires young people who live at the facility to engage in community partnerships and relationships and encourages them to volunteer their time and skills towards initiatives that are for the betterment of the Churchill community.

Timeline

A project plan and timeline has been developed by Quantum in consultation with its technical advisors. It is believed that once the purchase of the site is finalised it will take approximately 18 months to complete the refurbishment and new buildings on the site. The timeline may be adjusted or staged dependent on securing additional funding or other factors outside of Quantum’s control.

Community

Quantum will continue to engage with the Churchill community along the journey to ensure the Youth Foyer is aligned with the community vision and has every opportunity for success bringing value to the region and our community. Through the ongoing community engagement Quantum welcomes your questions and feedback. Regular updates will be provided through Community Information Sessions  and by emailing community@quantum.org.au

Our Ability and Our Partners

Quantum is a not-for-profit support service that has been operating solely in the Gippsland region since 1987. Quantum has offices across Morwell, Warragul, Bairnsdale and Sale, but also has services covering South Gippsland and Bass Coast. Quantum provides community support and care services across Gippsland to address the needs of community members, including:

  • Tenancy advocacy and support, homelessness, and youth crisis accommodation
  • Family violence support for women and children
  • Care services including Foster Care and Kinship Care
  • Youth and family services and youth justice programs.

Quantum has extensive expertise and experience in delivering youth homelessness housing services and supports. A number of the key staff involved in the project to date also have significant capital projects experience which adds to Quantum’s ability to deliver the project as planned.

Quantum and the Youth Foyer has partnership commitment from a number of local and highly established community service organisations who already deliver specialist youth homelessness programs in Gippsland to provide the intended wraparound services. These include Berry Street, Salvation Army Housing Victoria, Community Housing Ltd, The Salvation Army and Victorian Aboriginal Child Care Agency.