Youth Projects is announcing the significant refurbishment at the home of The Living Room on Hosier Lane, with works commencing in mid-June to create a world-class, global standard for homelessness and community-led health services in the heart of Melbourne. 

Having been at the heart of Melbourne’s CBD community for 20 years, The Living Room has long been highly regarded as a unique and effective primary health service and drop-in centre for people experiencing homelessness since first opening in 2002. It is a service that has created immeasurable social and economic impact, and most importantly, has supported thousands of people during their darkest hours.  

This significant refurbishment will ensure safe and critical services for people experiencing, or at risk of, homelessness remain available for decades to come.

Opened in partnership with the Victorian Government in 2002, The Living Room was originally one of very few primary health services funded specifically to provide targeted and responsive primary health care for Melbourne’s most marginalised and at-risk population through the provision of accessible health care.

Since then, The Living Room has evolved into a unique place that makes people feel welcome and respected, providing access to critical health services, social supports, food and clean clothes, right through to charging mobile phones, taking a shower, washing your clothes, and reducing social isolation. 

Pictured here: A view inside The Living Room in 2021

With homelessness 3 times more prevalent in Melbourne compared to the rest of Victoria (AIHW), rough sleeping in the CBD increasing 42% from 2012 to 2019 (StreetCount, City of Melbourne), and an 11% increase in the number of people directly accessing services at The Living Room in the past 5 years alone, now – more than ever – it’s time to evolve, expand and grow The Living Room.

The major refurbishment of The Living Room signifies a genuine game-changer for homelessness services in Melbourne and will set a new standard for community led health initiatives, globally. The Living Room is already world-class in service delivery, and now the physical environment will match our modern approach.

Artist Impression [Elevation] – The (new) Living Room 01

Artist Impression [Elevation] – The (new) Living Room 02 

Co-investing in this major project is the Victorian Government as part of its commitment to improving the quality and safety of care for public mental health and alcohol and other drug services. And investment is exactly what this is.

What is delivered through The Living Room not only makes sense for social return, but so too, a positive economic return. Early intervention and crisis support services like ours alleviates the stresses on our already-overburdened health system and saves the State economy millions of dollars by intervening before someone needs to lean on complex, public systems.”

What we do not only changes but saves lives too. We do it with absolute dignity, without judgement, and with self-determination at the core of our ethos,” says CEO, Ben Vasiliou.

Help us not only change lives, but save lives too.

The refurbishment will see the drop-in space double in size to provide access to a warm, homely ‘living room’ space for people, a new female-only private lounge and health area created, dedicated dining room, study areas, expanded laundry facilities, showers and change facilities, computer pods, charging stations and lockers – just on the ground floor.

Level 1 of the refurbished site will see new, private and safe clinical spaces for a three-fold increase in delivery of health care, counselling and therapy services PLUS separate workspaces for up to 20 staff.

Level 2 will see 4, new multi-purposes rooms able to host up to 80 people for all sorts of training and group from life skills, to nutrition, employment, housing, and social activities for people doing it tough.

The design, functionality and service capabilities of the new facility will enable Youth Projects to set a new global standard and quality benchmark for helping, not hindering, the vulnerable. We can’t keep doing things to people, for people in need, we must work with people, side-by-side, to understand their lived experiences and sharing stories. Community services should represent the aspirations of our clients, not the chronic under funding we’ve seen in our sector.

Our consumers have been involved every step of the way. It’s a real whole-of-organisation approach,” shares Ben Vasiliou, CEO.

The design and functionality has been carefully curated through consultation with the very people who are using services in collaboration with local interior architecture firm – Studio Tate – to ensure the new facility is not only fit-for-purpose but designed through the lens of people who will be accessing the very services being delivered at The Living Room.

The (new) Living Room will be place of protection, belonging, and create sense of ease. By contrasting the streets and environments surrounding us, we can create a place that is cared for, embraced and supports growth and regeneration for people visiting our services.

Construction is scheduled to commence in mid-June, with the newly refurbished facility re-opening in September 2022 and a pop-up Living Room operating during this period.

What we are about to create for people at risk of, or experiencing homelessness at Hosier Lane is nothing short of incredible. It will be a new global standard for community-led services that enables significant social and economic outcomes for thousands of people over the years to follow, and create a legacy in the heart of Melbourne that will change homelessness.  

So far, our Board of Directors have stepped up to raise $1.15M dollars, and we’re only $100,000 away from our dream goal…

Now, we need you!

We need your help is securing the home-stretch of $100,000 that will see The *new* Living Room come to life in the heart of Melbourne.

Please back us in by donating today, and know that your contribution is not just going straight the frontline, but helping to create a legacy for decades to come.

We’ve already got a few partners on board to help bring our vision to life (including our friends at Reece, Connected Communities Melbourne, Rotary International, Lord Mayor’s Charitable Fund and National Australia Bank) but we’re still just shy of our ultimate goal, and we NEED YOUR HELP.

With greater access to holistic, unconditional positive support and services that are designed to meet work with people at risk of, or experiencing homelessness, we can enable better health, stability and social connectedness, and open up pathways out of poverty and homelessness, for good. 

Be a force for good and act now. Donate today.


For all Media, Major Partnership & Projects enquiries, please contact Nic Horton (Marketing & Communications Manager) on 0458 911 299.

For Programs, Services & Pop-up enquiries, please contact The Living Room (03) 9945 2100.