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When Property Meets Philanthropy: Construction Starts on Centre for Homeless Youth

Property industry heavyweights have stepped up to create a new world-first facility supporting homeless youth in partnership with the Victorian government.

Construction of an $8 million centre began this month with the vision to transform City Mission’s Frontyard, Melbourne’s largest early intervention and crisis service for severely marginalised and disadvantaged youth, into a 24/7 service provider with expanded support services.

The centre, at 19 King Street in Melbourne’s CBD, has offered a safe haven to young people in crisis for almost 30 years.

Melbourne City Mission chief executive Vicki Sutton says the new venue is designed to disrupt the cycle of homelessness for Victoria’s most vulnerable and hard to reach young people.

“For 29 years Melbourne City Mission and Frontyard have been there for young people when they have nowhere else to turn,” Sutton said

Architect Fender Katsalidis is at the heart of the new facility’s design, along with property consultants Ashurst, Case Meallin, Urbis, Slattery, NDY, Wood & Grieve Engineers, Hendry Group, Equitable Access Solutions, Irwinconsult and Built.

The joint effort will ensure upgrades to a new intensive support centre, including the addition of two floors of crisis accommodation to shelter young people with nowhere to call home.

Property Industry Foundation Victoria chairman Peter Inge said the property consultants backing the project have already pledged their support with a plan in place to provide pro-bono services for the construction of the project.

“Our building partner, Built, will source and provide discounted and donated goods and materials for this project,” Inge said.

“Our mission at the Property Industry Foundation (PIF) is to work with charities who provide programs that assist at-risk and homeless young people. It is PIF’s plan to nationally create 125 bedrooms over the next 4 years.”

Youth snapshot

Australian Bureau of Statistics estimate that more than 43,500 homeless people are under 25.

The new model of support has been designed to respond to the multiple and complex needs of young people with significant trauma, who experience challenges connecting with support services.

Many of the young people accessing the new service will have been through the child protection system, and are likely to experience addiction, cognitive impairment and other disabilities in addition to youth homelessness.

Without intervention, they are at risk of remaining in crisis long-term, including adult homelessness.

The centre, due to open early 2019, will also provide services such as mental health, drug and alcohol and disability support.

The construction project is made possible by an innovative partnership between Melbourne City Mission and the Victorian Government, philanthropists including The Peter and Lyndy White Foundation, and the property industry through the Property Industry Foundation.

Article and image courtesy of the Urban Developer; first published 27 July 2018. 

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