Evaluation of the MCM Youth Housing Initiative: A User-Centred, Hybrid Design

Project: Research

Project Details

Project Description

In Australia, about 1 in 200 people are homeless on any given night, and about 22 per cent of these are children and young people aged 12–24 (AIHW, 2020). In Victoria, this figure is slightly higher at 25 per cent, representing over 6000 homeless children and young people every night.
Homelessness is not the same for everyone. Being on the street is particularly dangerous for young people, most of whom are running from unsafe homes or have given up on the fragmented health, mental health and statutory protective systems designed to help them. And they lack the resources, experience and maturity needed to stay safe while they’re vulnerable.
The transition from childhood to young adulthood can be challenging for young people who are supported and encouraged. But it’s an acutely challenging time for young people growing up in homes characterised by extreme poverty, domestic and family violence, child abuse and neglect, and a litany of other potentially traumatic experiences.
These adverse childhood experiences can accumulate over time, and – as young people approach adulthood – many find themselves on the street or living in marginal, insecure and temporary shelter where they often endure further traumatic experiences that can lead to a lifetime of poor outcomes.
The homelessness service system in Victoria is substantial but tends to rely on short-term housing solutions geared toward adults. Young people have fewer options and are at a developmental stage where they require a different set of services. Specifically, they need safe, long-term, supported environments where they can negotiate the transition to adulthood, address issues related to trauma, and develop the types of social and financial capital that will enable them to become successful adults.
Melbourne City Mission (MCM) is one of Victoria’s largest and most respected homelessness service providers, and has developed a new, long-term housing support program for young people, ages 18–24, to address this pressing need.
The Youth Housing Initiative (YHI) is a departure from current programs in that it’s specifically geared toward young people rather than adults, sticks with them for the long-term, and integrates case management and coaching (including living skills, community connections, and health and wellbeing support), therapeutic support, and long-term housing that matches service users’ level of need.
The model is designed to support young people to become increasingly independent over time and at their own pace, with a personalised set of support services that can be adjusted as needs arise.

Our proposed evaluation approach combines a rigorous outcome and economic evaluation with a developmental approach steeped in implementation science that will measure both the impact of the service and its implementation.
Short titleMCM YHI
Effective start/end date1/07/2230/06/27