Hope on the Road – introducing Hope Street’s new mobile outreach service

Published on 30 November 2018

When a crisis hits, it’s good to know you’ve got someone to call. With their new mobile outreach service, Hope Street Youth and Family Services is giving our region’s young people a helping hand when they need it most.

Launched in June this year, Hope Street’s innovative new First Response Youth Mobile Outreach Service is the first of its kind in the Melton area, and within just a few short months is already having a big impact on the lives of some of our community’s most vulnerable young people.


When the program kicked off earlier this year, staff at Hope Street set themselves a target to help 100 young people and families in their first 12 months. Just five months in, that target has almost been met – with the program having already assisted 96 young local people experiencing or at risk of homelessness, often as a result of family violence.


According to Olivia Myeza, Business Development & Partnerships Manager at Hope Street, the strong demand for the service illustrates the region’s sizable (and growing) need for youth homelessness services.


“The uptake for this program has been above what was anticipated,” Olivia explains. “It has been much higher than we anticipated and just confirms to us that this is a really pressing issue for the Melton community. There’s such a big need for mobile crisis outreach in the area.”

 

So, what does the mobile service do, exactly? 

Available 7 days a week from 10am until midnight, the service provides support for young people and young families experiencing (and at risk of experiencing) homelessness. It offers emergency help in moments of crisis; times when having a safe place to go to, or a roof over their head might not be a given. 

After contacting the outreach team via phone (03 9132 4300), the young person will be met by an outreach worker who will drive to their preferred location to provide support and ensure they are safe. 

Outreach workers take time to speak with the client to understand their situation and determine what kind of help they might need to feel safe. Next, the outreach worker will organise emergency accommodation and a meal voucher and arrange for the client to meet with a Hope Street case worker the next day.  

From here, a plan can be made to provide additional support and referrals to relevant services designed to help the young person get the assistance they need. They’ll get access to help navigating and accessing the Homelessness Service System, health services, finding emergency accommodation, and assistance getting food and/or material aid, and more. Olivia says that one of the program’s biggest strengths is that it is designed to prevent long-term homelessness. She emphasises that for many young people, a moment of crisis can be just that: a tough period of time that can be overcome with the right kind of support. 
 

What makes the service different?

According to Olivia, the program’s biggest feature is that it is mobile – meaning that staff can come to you, wherever you are in the area. For young people without access to their own transport, this aspect is crucial, particularly in light of Melton’s limited public transport options and the large geographical expanse of the City of Melton. Olivia says that Melton’s young people can feel extremely isolated in times of need and are at a distinct disadvantage to their peers in inner-city areas, who have access to a range of public transport options and proximity to numerous homelessness and other specialist services. 

The other big plus with the program is its availability. With staff on call from 10am until midnight seven days a week, 365 days a year, the region’s young people now know that there is someone to call when things get tough, which can often stabilise a young person’s situation until further assistance is provided.

 

How can young people access the mobile outreach service?

Simply by calling the First Response Mobile Outreach Team (03) 9132 4300 between 10am and midnight 7 days a week. 

 

Who’s eligible to use the service?

Young people must be:
• 16-25 years of age
• individuals or part of a couple / family (e.g. siblings, single parent and child, couple and child)
• homeless and/or at risk of homelessness
• in the Melton local government area or surrounding suburbs. This includes Aintree, Brookfield, Burnside - Burnside Heights, Caroline Springs, Cobblebank - Strathtulloh, Diggers Rest, Eynesbury Township, Fraser Rise, Harkness, Hillside, Kurunjang, Melton, Melton South, Melton West, Rockbank, Rural Balance, Taylors Hill and Toolern Vale.

 

For more information visit the Hope Street website.