The community is the “cornerstone” to ending youth homelessness, experts say.
Speaking at the Melton launch of a magazine, Parity, Hope Street chief executive Donna Bennett said that engaging the community and ensuring it “owned” the solutions was imperative to tackling youth homelessness.
For the past three years, Hope Street has been working with various Melton businesses and agencies to establish a youth refuge centre.
The state government has announced $1.2 million funding for the centre and work is now in the design stage.
The closest similar centre is almost 30 kilometres away.
Ms Bennett said young people were an important part of the campaign for the centre, but the community’s enthusiasm for a refuge in the municipality drove its success.
“Hope Street is a part of the Melton community.
“We want to be there for our kids; we want to support them. We don’t want them experiencing family violence or going hungry because they can’t afford to have more than one meal a day.”
State Housing, Disability and Ageing Minister Martin Foley called on the federal government to commit to the National Partnership Agreement on Homelessness.
Parity is published by the not-for-profit Council to Homeless Persons.