Hanover Welfare Services Clocks Up 50 Years
22 May 2014 at 10:48 am
A homelessness support centre, which started out providing services for homeless men in inner Melbourne, has turned 50 – with demand for its services across the State continuing to grow.
Hanover Welfare Services, named after Hanover Street in the Melbourne suburb of Fitzroy, where the organisation started, opened its doors to people experiencing homelessness 1964.
Its initial focus was to support homeless men in the inner city, however over the years it has grown to cover all of Victoria.
|Hanover's initial focus was to support homeless men in the inner city.|
In more recent years, Hanover says it has added employment services to its programs to help unemployed people upskill and get back into the workforce. It has also increased its focus on education and training.
“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,” Hanover Chief Executive Officer Tony Keenan said.
Keenan said 50 years ago, homelessness mainly affected older males with drug and alcohol problems who were sleeping rough, begging and lining up for a meal.
|Hanover Chief Executive Officer Tony Keenan said 50 years ago homelessness mainly affected older males with drug and alcohol problems who were sleeping rough, begging and lining up for a meal.|
He said now the largest causes of homelessness today were 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,” Keenan said.
“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.”
Hanover said that on any given night 6,130 young Victorians were without a safe and secure place to call home.
It said its 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,” Keenan said.
“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.”
For more information on the history of Hanover, click here.