Youth Projects has worked tirelessly throughout the pandemic to continue delivering high impact health and harm reduction services to Melbourne’s most at-risk communities, particularly people experiencing homelessness, to ensure equitable access to critical health and social services. 

A survey undertaken in 2020 found that 35% of people accessing our services first learned about Covid-19 from The Living Room staff and that 88% of people had nowhere else to go for help and support beyond of Youth Projects.  

During the initial vaccination rollout in 2021, Youth Projects was approved to administer vaccinations directly through our onsite GP clinic and we were able to assist nearly 100 “rough sleepers” to access Covid-19 vaccinations through The Living Room. 

As the rollout continued, Youth Projects noticed a significant lag in ongoing support for highly vulnerable communities in Melbourne, particularly for people sleeping rough. 

Youth Projects has now secured funding through the Department of Families, Fairness and Housing (DFFH) to deliver targeted case management Covid-19 vaccination activities for people experiencing homelessness and disadvantage in Melbourne through our new ‘Covid-Safe’ initiative.  

This new initiative will address the low vaccination uptake among the homelessness community and enable up to 100 more people to access Covid-19 vaccinations and additional, wrap around support. 

Covid-Safe will operate out of The Living Room, where our specialised harm reduction and Alcohol and Other Drug focussed primary health services will provide cost-free healthcare whilst engaging service users with complex needs to access: 

  • Information on the safety, efficacy and availability of vaccinations and infection controls
  • Case management to achieve additional goals through a strengths-based approach; and,
  • Practical assistance to access Covid-19 vaccinations  

Our Covid-Safe initiative will not only drive higher rates of Covid-19 vaccination education and uptake but will also have a deeper impact on providing community members with direct and ongoing linkages to enhanced outcomes in health, employment, psychosocial functioning and community integration.