Hanover Welfare Services is marking 50 years of service in 2014, but every night there are still thousands of Victorians with no place to call home.
When Hanover opened its doors in 1964 its founders determined it would be an organisation that recognised the dignity and aspirations of people experiencing homelessness. From day one, Hanover gathered evidence, developed policy and influenced, while providing dignified and effective services.
Fifty years on, the organisation delivers modern day support services for homeless youth, families and individuals across Melbourne and Victoria.
“In 2014 we are experiencing a situation where more young people than ever are seeking our assistance for housing and educational support programs which provide stability, a sense of security and put individuals back in control of their lives and future,” said Hanover chief executive officer Tony Keenan.
Fifty years ago, homelessness mainly affected older males with drug and alcohol problems who were sleeping rough, begging and lining up for a meal. The largest causes of homelessness today are family violence and affordable housing.
“Victoria is in the grip of an affordable housing crisis which affects the most vulnerable in our community and drives young people into homelessness,” said Mr Keenan.
“The recent policy changes to youth unemployment announced in the Federal budget mean our programs which aim to get young people into education and employment are now more important than ever before.”
“We know from experience that access to targeted education and employment programs play a fundamental role in empowering young people to break the cycle of youth homelessness,” he said.
On any given night 6,130 young Victorians are without a safe and secure place to call home. Without a stable place to live, young people find it harder to stay in school, gain employment and get access to rental housing.
Hanover’s Education First Youth Foyer Program which is run in conjunction with the Brotherhood of St Laurence was created to give young people who can’t live at home an opportunity to get an education while they learn housing, living, health and wellbeing skills. With the current Foyer program at Holmesglen Institute of TAFE successfully operating at capacity, Hanover is about to open another at Kangan Institute of TAFE.
“For 50 years, we’ve had to remain agile, continuously reviewing and modifying our services to meet the ever changing face of homelessness across Melbourne. We are proud of where we have come to, but there is still work to be done,” said Mr Keenan.
“In 2014 we are encouraging all Melburnians to make a generous donation which will go a long way to empowering homeless youth to get an education, build confidence and go out into the world equipped with the life skills they need to follow their dreams,” he said.
Tony Keenan, Hanover chief executive officer
Established in 1964, Hanover Welfare Services is a leading Melbourne agency which provides services to people experiencing homelessness or housing crisis. Hanover is independent; it has no structural links with churches, institutions or governments. In 2014 Hanover marks 50 years of service to the community and has a proud history of advocating on behalf of, researching and providing practical support to vulnerable Victorians.
M: +61 (0) 468 437 566