Proof that our Education First Youth Foyer model works

We’re excited to be able to share with you the results of a five-year longitudinal study by our Research and Policy Centre showing the benefits of our ‘education first’ model approach to youth homelessness.

The study gives proof that the model greatly improves participants’ education, employment, housing, and health and wellbeing outcomes, and these improvements are largely sustained a year after exit.

We know that Australians who leave school early are three times more likely to face deep social exclusion than others of the same age. Developed by the Brotherhood of St Laurence and Hanover Welfare Services (now Launch Housing) with funding from the Victorian Government, Education First Youth Foyers expand upon the original concept of youth foyers by prioritising education as key to a sustainable livelihood. They are best known as a form of supported student accommodation rather than a crisis housing response.

The report shows that:

  • young people remain committed to an education, training and employment pathway after foyer
  • young people have and keep better housing outcomes after their time at foyer
  • through our community of practice, we combine research and practice to build an evolving and effective program model.

A KPMG independent financial evaluation of the research also found several benefits:

  • Avoided housing support alone makes up for the difference in cost between foyers and transitional housing management services.
  • Improved educational attainment and employment outcomes give students increased earnings, reduce use of unemployment benefits and add taxation revenue for government.
  • Savings through reduced emergency department presentations and unplanned hospital admissions.

We’re delighted to have these results to reinforce the anecdotal experience of participants. It proves that early, integrated investment in young people experiencing, or at risk of homelessness, supports sustained improved outcomes.

Read the full report: Starting a future that means something to you

What are they doing now?

Many participants in the Education First Youth Foyers have shared their stories with our supporters over the years. Here are updates on two of our most recent profiles:

Now living in UniLodge in Footscray, Jess is in her third and final year of studying a Bachelor of Sports Science. Her studies are going really well. She has been working part time at the Melbourne Convention and Exhibition Centre for 18 months and has been working at café (a social enterprise) for four months. Jess is keen to continue study in the field of science and wants to begin a Bachelor of Exercise Science (clinical practice) next year.

Paul has completed a Certificate IV in Youth Work. He won Box Hill Indigenous student of the year in May this year at Box Hill Institute TAFE. He is working at the Melbourne Cricket Ground and is currently applying for a role as a Youth Justice Worker

These are just a couple of success stories we wanted to share with you from young people who entered our Education First Youth Foyer with a need for support, but also the ambition to achieve their goals. Well done!