November 30, 2021

Kids Under Cover wins Victorian Homelessness Achievement Award

Media Release

The Council for Homeless Persons’ Victorian Homelessness Achievement Awards recognise individuals, programs, organisations or partnerships that have made an outstanding contribution to preventing or ending homelessness in Victoria.

We’re thrilled to announce that Kids Under Cover’s Village 21 Program has won in the category of Excellence in Ending Homelessness – Young People. It’s a great honour to receive this recognition alongside so many highly respected organisations and programs.

Launched in December 2020 in Preston, Village 21 is helping to bridge a gap for young people between leaving Out of Home Care and their transition to independent living. This unique support model currently provides studios for six young people; giving them a stable home, wrap around supports and a communal living experience for up to three years.

“Village 21 is a first it’s kind,” says Kids Under Cover CEO, Jo Swift. “So many young people are leaving Out of Home Care before they are fully prepared for the challenge of independent life. We’re thrilled our six occupants can enjoy stable accommodation and the support they need to get off to a good a start. It’s wonderful recognition for the program to receive this special award.”

It’s been reported that 35% of young people in state care end up homeless after they turn 18.  Village 21 interrupts this spiral by providing safe and stable living and the support young people need to get up a running into adult life.

Kids Under Cover would like to acknowledge our partners in this project, Anglicare Victoria, whose expertise and commitment to young people is critical to the success of the program.

We look forward to further developing this model and to continuing to find innovative ways to ensure young people leaving state care have every opportunity to enjoy a bright future.

Our CEO Jo Swift was also nominated for the Beth Thomson Lifetime Achievement award. The Lifetime Achievement Award nomination is a great honour for Jo whose contribution to the sector has indeed been significant. In her time as CEO at Kids Under Cover she has overseen the provision of hundreds of studios and nearly 2000 scholarships for young people at risk of homelessness. Her work extends beyond Kids Under Cover, having been a persuasive advocate within the sector and a driver of productive partnerships committed to preventing homelessness in the community.

“It’s wonderful to see Jo’s impact in preventing homelessness recognised by this nomination,” says Kids Under Cover Acting Chair, Nathaniel Popelianski. “Not only has Jo offered a high level of expertise to the youth homelessness sector for the past two decades but she has explored every opportunity for communities to improve outcomes for young people who need support. This nomination is a credit to her innovative thinking and unwavering commitment to the cause.”

The Lifetime Achievement Award nomination is a wonderful symbol of Jo’s extraordinary commitment and the icing on the cake of an incredible era at Kids Under Cover that will sadly come to an end when she steps down at the end of 2021. We have every confidence that wherever her journey takes her, Jo will leave a positive and lasting impact.