Brotherhood of St Laurence and Foyer Foundation partner to strengthen program that puts homeless young people on path to successful adult lives

24 October 2017

Welfare organisation the Brotherhood of St Laurence and the Foyer Foundation are joining forces to improve the life prospects for young people who have been homeless or at risk of homelessness by offering accommodation, education and preparation for employment in Youth Foyers.

The two organisations today announced a two-year partnership at the second National Foyer Conference in Sydney to work together on measures including a "Community of Practice" for agencies which run Youth Foyers in Australia to share expertise and strengthen the Foyers’ programs and practice.

Youth Foyers are different from most other services for this group of young people because they integrate housing, education, training and assistance with health, well-being and finding employment, helping them develop the skills they need to lead fulfilling and productive adult lives.

"The Brotherhood of St Laurence is delighted to have the opportunity to work more closely with the Foyer Foundation to advocate for more Foyers nationally," said the Brotherhood’s Executive Director, Tony Nicholson. "Our own involvement in developing and establishing youth foyers in Victoria shows how effective they are in helping young people who are homeless or at risk of homelessness to study and work towards independent adulthoods while living in customised accommodation," he said.

Keith Bryant, Chair of the Foyer Foundation, said: "The Foyer Foundation looks forward to working with the Brotherhood of St Laurence to bring together our expertise, with the aim of strengthening the Foyer movement across Australia. We can achieve so much more by working together.

"The partnership will drive the growth of Youth Foyers in Australia through measures that include research and policy development and developing nationally consistent processes, including accreditation for new Foyers."

Sally James, the Brotherhood’s Principal Advisor on Youth Transitions, said: "We will be working with government at the federal and state levels - and with local communities - to get a better deal for a group of young people who don’t have the opportunities for decent education and employment - the keys to success in adult life - that many other Australian youth enjoy.

"Young people who complete educational qualifications are much more likely to have the capacity to find ongoing work. Research by the Brotherhood of St Laurence and the Melbourne Institute finds that early school leavers experience social exclusion at almost three times the rate of those who have completed Year 12."

Youth Foyers began in France after World War II (foyer means hearth in French) to support young people at risk of or experiencing homelessness to secure work, and has spread to other countries, including Australia.

Youth Foyers tackle the causes of a young person’s homelessness, whether it is family breakdown, disengagement from learning or lack of access to training or employment which works to prevent long-term homelessness and unemployment.

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The Brotherhood of St Laurence (BSL) acknowledges and understands its obligations under the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child and recognises that all children and young people have the right to be treated with respect and care, and to be safe from all forms of abuse. BSL has a zero tolerance towards child abuse. Read the official statement signed by the Executive Director.

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