Studio Stay Program

Piloting a Program to Increase Support at Crisis End

Our CEO, Jo Swift, participated in the “Making Innovation Happen” program at Cambridge University in May 2017. From the program, Jo walked away with an idea to address the significant shortage of safe and inclusive crisis accommodation and respite in Victoria.

Currently, approximately 66% of young people are turned away when seeking crisis accommodation in metro Melbourne. As a result, these vulnerable young people are forced to stay in unsafe and inappropriate environments such as overcrowded rooming houses, motels and backpacker hostels.

Jo saw a gap in the support being offered to young people in long-term Out-of-home care (OOHC) placement. And so, the Studio Stay Program idea was hatched.

There is currently a significant shortage of safe emergency/short-term accommodation in Victoria. Just 159 crisis accommodation beds are available on any given night, for an estimated 9,742 young people who are experiencing homelessness in Victoria.

Caseworkers are often forced to place vulnerable young people in residential care or if there are no alternatives, unsafe and inappropriate environments such as motels, backpacker hostels and in extreme cases, admissions to hospital even though they do not present with any medical conditions.

The Studio Stay Program will provide at-risk young people (aged 14–18 years) with short-term crisis accommodation with a family in a safe, supportive and nurturing environment. A young person would stay in a Kids Under Cover studio (one-bedroom with bathroom) in the backyard of an accredited carer during the critical time from when they leave their current care placement until their caseworker establishes long-term care or the young person reunifies with their family.

Placements would last seven days to six weeks, though each case will be unique in its duration depending on the needs of the young person. During the placement, the caseworker would continue to support the young person.

The program is currently moving into pilot stage with a model having been setup in Ballarat.

As is the case in Melbourne, Ballarat is facing a shortage of short-term accommodation options for OOHC clients and young people experiencing homelessness. There are an estimated 400 homeless people of all ages in Ballarat, over 100 of those are aged under 18. On any given night there are around 130 young people placed in OOHC, clearly demonstrating a need for such a program in the area.

Having cemented a solid relationship with Child and Family Services (CAFS) in Ballarat through our Studio Program since 2005, together, we have been working to implement the pilot program. CAFS have been providing service for young people and families in Ballarat for over 150 years. They know the area and the challenges young people are facing.



We are grateful to have received funding support from BB & A Miller Foundation, Flora & Frank Leith Charitable Trust and The Shine On Foundation to launch this pilot program.



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