Youth Reconnect funding restored

The federal government has reinstated funding for a local program that has “significantly contributed” to reducing youth homelessness in Melton.

The future of Reconnect has been secured until July next year with the federal government announcing $215,000 for the early intervention-based program for young people aged between 12 and 18, who are homeless or at risk of homelessness.

Melton council has been delivering the Reconnect service for the past three years, working with young people and their families.

The primary focus of council’s program is casework with young people and their families, a report presented at last week’s council meeting stated.

“In delivering the service, the program utilises strategies such as mediation, counselling, recreation and personal development activities for young people and their families where appropriate,” the report states.

“Reconnect workers ensure service accessibility for young people and families across the municipality by providing outreach case management, rather than limiting service accessibility to an office location.”

Council officers will continue to advocate for funding retention beyond July, 2017.

“If the funding does not proceed post this date, it may become a risk to council with regards to whether council continue to provide the service or not,” the report states.

In a letter to council, Social Service’s Department acting regional director Sonja Pase said funding was extended until next year because of the Melton program’s “success… in improving outcomes for homeless youth and young people at risk of homelessness”.