The Premier’s Youth Initiative (PYI) aims to prevent homelessness among young people leaving Out of Home Care (OOHC) or Permanency Support by diverting them from the homelessness service system. Veritas House is delivering the program in Western NSW in partnership with youth specialist housing provider, My Foundations Youth Housing. Young people are provided with a combination of personal advice, education and employment mentoring, transitional accommodation and support to secure long-term accommodation.
Brandi* found affordable accommodation and support through PYI, “I’m independent, I have an income and I feel secure. And I am engaged to be married! Stable housing and support have given me the ability to build my life up. In my case, home is definitely where the heart is. There was a time when I was couch surfing and going from home to home. Those days are behind me now. And I guess the most important message I have for kids my age is to never give up hope. There’s a lot of support out there and lots of people who want to help. The future belongs to me and I am grabbing hold of it.”
*Name changed and generic image used to protect privacy
Objectives of PYI
- Identify and target young people leaving OOHC in Western NSW, who are at risk of homelessness, before they enter crisis – enabling services to intervene early and divert them from entering the homelessness service system altogether, where possible.
- Ensure young people in Western NSW who do not have established networks and case managed aftercare support are supported by a Personal Advisor. This support will continue for the duration of the initiative, and aims to support a young person leaving OOHC to:
- implement their leaving care plan
- establish a life-long habit of growing and maintaining personal support networks
- navigate mainstream and specialist services as required
- manage crisis and change effectively.
- Provide support to young people in Western NSW to establish single occupant and shared accommodation via subsidised head-leased properties. This objective will enable young people to remain in locations where they have established support networks, following the end of or exit from PYI.
- Provide transitional support to young people in Western NSW to build their capacity to establish and maintain long-term accommodation. There will be an emphasis on building capacity to establish and maintain share accommodation. This transitional support will be provided for up to three years of the PYI initiative.
- Support young people via education and employment mentoring to build their financial capacity and growth in opportunity. This support is aimed at increasing the young person’s educational attainment and employment outcomes, so that at their exit from PYI the young person can maintain their housing and independent living.
How can young people join the program?
Department of Communities and Justice (DCJ) Central Office Referrals
Veritas House’s PYI Team is provided with an eligibility list from DCJ Central Office. Target group criteria includes: young person is aged between 16 years and 9 months to 17 years and 6 months, is leaving OOHC and is likely to be homeless or at risk upon leaving care (given vulnerability screening indicators generated from ChildStory). A Veritas House PYI team member will contact the allocated caseworker to organise an invitation meeting.
Service providers and caseworkers can make a referral on behalf of a young person by downloading this Community Referral Form. Target group criteria: young person is aged between 17 years and 0 months to 17 years and 11 months, and must satisfy at least one of the following:
- Be leaving OOHC and have had a new placement within the last 12 months
- Be leaving OOHC from a Residential Care setting
- Be leaving OOHC and an early school leaver
- Be leaving OOHC from an institution (justice centre) or a refuge
- Leaving Youth Justice, not in OOHC and 17.5 years of age or older