A Word From Our CEO

 Investing in Preventative Strategies Makes Sense.

Jo at desk

The longer days and warmer nights of spring come as a relief to many of us, none more so than those sleeping rough. The winter months bring about harsh reminders of what it might be like to be homeless. I imagine not having the luxury of a warm house, a meal or a safe place to sleep. And then I imagine being a young person with nowhere to go.

For a young person experiencing homelessness, or displaying risk-taking behavior spending nights away from home, winter can be a very lonely time. Many young people believe they are better off living away from home permanently. Sometimes the pressures of an overcrowded home coupled with the burden of mental health issues, trauma or grief, mean young people feel like they don’t have a choice, they must leave.

We know a studio can be the lifeline many young people and their families so desperately need. The sad reality is we don’t have the funds to keep up with the increasing need. We have made terrific headway in raising funds through philanthropy and general donations. This has seen us equal the number of studios built through private funding as it has through our government grants combined.

We have been actively preventing youth homelessness for almost 30 years, and yet continue to struggle to secure consistent government funding for our work. I strongly urge the Victorian government to find a place within mainstream funding for the Kids Under Cover Studio Program and to work together with us to prevent homelessness.

In the midst of winter we had 40 young people on our waitlist for a studio, that’s 40 young people at risk of becoming homeless. Some at breaking point, all displaying risk-taking behavior and potentially ready to leave, without a safe place to go.  Sadly, without additional support from the Victorian state government Kids Under Cover can’t intervene and change the fate of these young people and their families.

In a recent funding announcement, the Victorian state government committed an additional $27m to upgrade rooming houses and provide additional accommodation for homeless. Sadly, once again we see a lack of real commitment (financial or resources) directed towards prevention and early intervention. Until we address early intervention and prevention in a meaningful way we will continue to see an increase in homeless young people entering the system.

Recently, an evaluation of our programs was conducted by EY on our behalf. This Social Return on Investment (SROI) analysis has provided us with a clear understanding of the benefits of our early intervention and prevention strategies. This comprehensive report reveals the extent of the economic and social impact of our Studio and Scholarship Programs.  READ MORE

It was heartening for me to read the results from this analysis and understand the positive changes being made. Not only for the young people but their carers and other young people residing within the main house.  Unsurprising to read is the cost savings attributed to the government through reduced costs in housing services, costs to the health and justice systems.

With this in mind, investing in preventative strategies makes clear economic and social sense.

I continue to be overwhelmed by the generosity of our kind-hearted supporters and I look forward to catching up with many of you over the coming months. Thank you for your continued support and belief in what we do.

I hope you enjoy this edition of Undercover News.


Jo Swift

Chief Executive Officer

Kids Under Cover



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