A $4.2 million youth housing complex in Warrnambool will help break the cycle of low income, homelessness and unemployment in south-west Victoria.
Modelled after similar projects in Ballarat and Europe, Foyer Warrnambool will provide self-contained units for up to 18 residents to learn vital life skills for two years.
It will be managed by Brophy Family and Youth Services of Warrnambool and have 12 staff providing one-on-one advice and supervision for residents aged between 16 and 25.
However, unlike most youth support venues in the Department of Human Services network, Foyer Warrnambool will not have clients with substance abuse, violence or mental health problems.
“These will be people who choose to be here, not forced to live here,” manager Jenny Hand said.
“It’s to support and help with improving life skills so when they leave they will be able to fit into society and live independently.”
Prospective residents will have to apply through Brophy services and go through extensive referral and screening. They will undertake a lease agreement and pay rent and a service charge.
The complex on Raglan Parade, adjacent to the ambulance station, has a single entry point, closed-circuit-television monitoring and a cap on visitor numbers.
“One of the major criteria for entry to Foyer Warrnambool is that applicants are required to be involved in an accredited course or employment,” Ms Hand said.
“We will make a difference in the lives of young people at risk of falling out of education and training due to their housing issues.”
Residents will be taught budgeting, cooking, gardening and communication skills.
The complex, which was funded by state and federal governments, will be open for public tours tomorrow from 11am to 1pm.
First tenants will arrive early next year.