Home is Where the Hope is

Published on 10 December 2018

As part of its mission to reduce the numbers of youth at risk of homelessness in Melbourne’s outer west and northern regions, our community partner Hope Street recently test-ran a pilot program designed to assist young people to get a foot in the door of the private rental market. Two years on and the results show that better futures are possible with a compassionate, community approach. 

Operating in the Melton and Whittlesea local government areas, Hope Street’s recentHope to Home’ pilot program was aimed at helping some of our community’s most vulnerable young people navigate their way through the often-tricky world of private rental accommodation.

Funded by Gandel Philanthropy (Melton) and the Lord Mayor’s Charitable Foundation (Whittlesea), the program saw Hope Street team up with local real estate agents to secure tenancies for young people and young families affected by homelessness (and at risk of experiencing homelessness), with Hope Street acting as a co-signer on the young person’s lease – a crucial part of the puzzle for young people trying to access rental accommodation for the first time. 

According to Hope Street spokesperson Olivia Myeza, the Hope to Home pilot model went beyond just helping young people find a place to live – it gave them the support required to manage and sustain their private rental accommodation, too.  

As part of the program, Hope Street provided a range of supports, including case management, counselling and training on what it takes to be a good tenant, as well as material and financial support to help set up the new home. 

“The program is holistic in scope,” Olivia says. “In addition to facilitating housing, it aimed to assist young people to seek employment and remain in education while providing support, flexible brokerage and workshops teaching living skills.”  

“By participating in the program, young people also began developing a rental history, as well as gaining valuable knowledge and skills relating to securing and maintaining leases.”

To help show the positive impact of the Hope to Home program, two inspirational young people from Melton, Nicholas and Maria, recently shared their experiences of being homeless and talked about how the Hope to Home program had changed their lives for the better. Appearing in our Stories of Hope video series, Nicholas and Maria show that with a little help during a tough time, it’s possible to create a brighter future.

So, what’s next for Hope to Home? With the successful completion of the pilot in July this year, Hope Street continues to support young people and families in tenancies as part of a transitional approach. Hope Street aims to continue the good work and is approaching the Department of Health and Human Services for ongoing funding for the program. For updates and other news, head to the Hope Street website

Keen to help support the good work of Hope Street this Christmas? For a gold coin donation, you can have your Christmas gifts beautifully wrapped right here at Woodgrove by the team from Melton City Council – with all funds going straight to Hope Street. 

Hope Street gift wrapping service runs 17–24 December from 10am-4pm.
Location: outside Kmart. 

You can also DONATE HERE via the Hope Street website.