Youth Foyers – making a difference
Lack of education and employment are two of the most significant factors that lead to homelessness. As an integrated learning and accommodation centre, the Foyer aims to develop the skills of young people who can’t live at home by providing and combining affordable accommodation, education and training and employment so they can break the cycle of homelessness and lead independent, rewarding lives.
Youth Foyers accomodate up to 40 people aged 16-24 years old in studio style accommodation with extensive communal living and support service areas that will be supervised by trained staff 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. Key services include accommodation either on site or close to education and employment services, life skills development, mental and physical health support, drug and alcohol support, mentoring and employment assistance.
An important part of the Foyer is that there is an understanding between the program and the young person that certain tasks must be undertaken during a person’s time at the foyer. Provided a person shows a commitment to education, a resident may stay up to two years before staff will assist in finding new accommodation, including private rental.
The Foyer is a model that originated in the UK and has experienced great success with more than 75% of people who leave the program becoming engaged in employment or further education, or both. Innovative initiatives such as foyers that take a holistic and long term view of the solutions to homelessness are ones that Hanover aims to provide and is excited to be a part of. We’ve partnered with Colin Falconer, from the UK Foyer Federation in the development of the Practice Guide for our new Education First Youth Foyers.
Accentuating the positives
The Foyer model is based on the UK’s Open Talent and Advantaged Thinking approaches, which shifts the traditional focus on ‘needs and deficits’ to one of emphasising skills and talents.
“Most funding bodies and services tend to look at clients in terms of their needs and deficits… often we’re almost forced to dwell on their problems in order to get them into a program, or attract funding support. It’s just the way the service sector has evolved,” says Hanover Foyer Project Officer, Niamh McTiernan.
“Open Talent gives people’s needs equal weighting with their strengths. In terms of the Foyer, we’re making a different offer to young people; we’re putting education and employment front-and-centre rather than focusing primarily on housing.”
Read Niamh’s story here, for more about Open Talent and Advantaged Thinking.
The Education First Youth Foyers are made possible through funding from the State Government of Victoria’s Department of Human Services.