Townsville youth foyer to help young people experiencing homelessness

Media Release
August 3, 2018

The Palaszczuk Government has given the go ahead to commence construction for a specialised youth housing service in Townsville, with contracts awarded to a local builder and a local support provider.

Based on the internationally recognised Youth Foyer model, the Townsville Youth Foyer delivers evidence based early intervention by providing secure housing and professional support for up to 40 vulnerable young people at any one time.

Member for Mundingburra Coralee O’Rourke said the Youth Foyer will assist young Townsville residents unable to live at home with their families to break the cycle of homelessness.

“Youth Foyers are recognised for putting young people aged 16-25 on a positive path by providing safe and affordable housing while helping them to become confident, strong and self-supporting,” said Mrs O’Rourke.

“This is no hand out – the Foyer journey starts with a young person making a personal commitment to receive professional support to achieve their personal goals.

Member for Townsville Scott Stewart said young people would have the opportunity to learn and practice the rights and responsibilities of being a tenant in a safe and secure environment before moving into more independent housing options.

“Youth Foyers provide young people who might otherwise struggle to complete formal education the supports they need to succeed and achieve,” he said.

Member for Thuringowa Aaron Harper said the Foyer would provide opportunities for young people to find and keep a job, which is critical to independence.

“You can’t expect young people to stand on their own two feet, and live independently, unless they’re earning – and the Foyer model encourages and supports young people to do exactly that,” he said.

The 40 single-occupancy, self-contained studio units in the Townsville Youth Foyer will offer safe and secure housing, staffed 24/7 by professional youth support workers, with tenants paying 25 per cent of their income in rent.

A total of $15.1 million has been allocated for land purchase, construction and provision of support services at the Foyer.

It will be designed by Paynter Dixon Queensland and managed by Mission Australia Housing with on-site specialist support delivered by Mission Australia.

Paynter Dixon General Manager Brett Johnston said he was very pleased to be involved in the development of the Townsville Youth Foyer.

“We have fostered a long-standing relationship with the Department of Housing and Public Works and are proud to partner on such an important initiative,” said Mr Johnston.

“Together we are creating pathways for those experiencing homelessness, or at risk of becoming homeless, and developing a standard of housing of which we can all be proud.”

CEO of Mission Australia James Toomey said it was a great project to be involved in.

“We are pleased to be involved in this important project so we can provide accommodation and support for young Queenslanders who are homeless or at risk of or experiencing homelessness,” said Mr Toomey.

“The young people who live at Townsville Youth Foyer will have a safe space to live in self-contained accommodation, as well as access to education, employment and case management supports which are essential components in their journey to independence.”

The Foyer will be designed in consultation with stakeholders, using the successful Logan Youth Foyer as a model.

Housing Minister Mick de Brenni said that between 2013-2017 more than 33,000 young clients had been assisted across all Specialist Homelessness Services in Queensland – almost 4000 on the Gold Coast.

“Bricks and mortar alone won’t solve homelessness,” he said.

That’s why I’m rock solid on partnerships that improve pathways from homelessness to safe, secure and sustainable housing ad a key element of the Palaszczuk Government’s $1.8 billion Queensland Housing Strategy,” said Mr de Brenni.

“Our government has created an ecosystem of stability in the sector so providers and government can embrace innovation and that all leads to more meaningful changes in the lives of people we are assisting, leading to better long-term housing outcomes.”

Construction on the new Townsville Youth Foyer is expected to start at the end of 2018 with the Foyer operational by the end of 2019.


Media contact: Cat Milton 0447 117 132