Youth-specialist outreach services expand into Moreland Off the back of resounding success in the City of Hume, Youth Projects’ youth-specialist outreach program – YHOP - has now expanded into the City of Moreland to provide young people aged 12 to 25 years access to individualised housing, mental health, education, training, employment and crisis supports in the region. The YHOP program assertively outreaches into the community targeting hot spots such as train stations, skate parks and shopping centres. Young people can access up to 6 months to overcome barriers and provide individualised support based on the outcomes, goals and aspirations of each young person. Since launching YHOP in the City of Hume in 2018, YHOP has already worked with 400 at-risk and disengaged young people who would have otherwise succumb to a broken system. Over 60% of young people accessing YHOP required mental health support, 45% were at-risk of or experiencing primary homelessness and 40% were not engaged with education, employment or training. Youth Projects CEO, Ben Vasiliou, highlighted the reality of the issues disproportionately impacting young people, “The sad reality during COVID is that many young people had to flee unsafe environments, or have fallen between the cracks in the service system. To add to this perfect storm, waitlists have blown out, and young people are hitting the streets in numbers we haven’t seen before. Young people need us most, right now.” According to 2016 Census data, 261 young people are experiencing homelessness in the City of Moreland and 20% of young people are not engaged in education, employment or training. Youth Projects believes that this is a massive underestimation of the actual figure based on our engagement with young people at the coalface across Moreland. Moreland City Council’s Full Potential Youth Strategy (2019) identified the main issues faced by young people in the region including jobs, mental health, bullying, healthy relationships, and education. YHOP is designed to specifically target these issues and create meaningful pathways to social and economic participation for young people in the region. In the City of Moreland alone there are 24 organisations that provide 84 youth-related services - expecting a young person in crisis to navigate a complex service system is unrealistic. “Outreaching into high-risk hot spots and providing a safe and judgement free zone for young people to access the supports they need is critical. Navigating a complex and often judgemental service system is tough and we need to be there to coordinate those services.” said Ben Vasiliou, CEO of Youth Projects. YHOP will provide a one-stop-shop for young people to better navigate the overwhelming network of services and provide an additional layer of immediate support to a young person in crisis. The program has already started engaging with the most disengaged and at-risk young people in the City of Moreland to improve their mental health, education engagement and retention, improve physical and social wellbeing and provide pathways to sustainable housing and employment. YHOP Moreland is proudly funded by Youth Projects, Erdi Foundation, Moreland Rotary and Inner North Community Foundation. For more information or to access YHOP, please contact Youth Projects on (03) 9304 9100.