$14.2 Million SIB Focuses on Housing Young People
7 November 2018 at 8:00 am
Australia’s largest social impact bond will provide $6 million of stable housing for young people leaving care to prevent them falling into homelessness.
The COMPASS program, developed by Anglicare Victoria and VincentCare, supports young people leaving out-of-home care by linking them with education, training and job opportunities.
The program will start in Melbourne’s west later this month, after attracting more than $14.2 million from investors to make it Australia’s largest SIB.
VincentCare CEO John Blewonski told Pro Bono News the program – which would help 200 young people aged 16 to 18 over five years – was unique in that it would provide $6 million of stable housing for care leavers.
“Because a key platform of the program is around the provision of housing, we’ll have guaranteed housing stock within the bond,” Blewonski said.
“And then further money will be used on head-leasing properties in the private rental market. We feel this is a very significant game changer for these young people.”
Research has shown people leaving care at 18 were more likely to be homeless, unemployed, suffer mental health problems or be involved with crime than other young people.
After a long campaign from social sector advocates, Victoria finally extended state care from 18 to 21 years – initially for 250 young care leavers through the Home Stretch program.
But Blewonski said this would not affect COMPASS, which has a guaranteed flow of clients into the program.
“In many ways I think COMPASS will be a learning platform for programs such as Home Stretch, especially with the extension of residential care for young people to 21,” he said.
The success of the SIB will be measured against targets of improved health, reduced homelessness and decreased criminal convictions.
Participants will be measured for the two years they are in the program, as well as two years post-program to ensure sustainable outcomes have been created.
Anglicare Victoria CEO Paul McDonald said the SIB was an innovative solution to tackling a tough social problem.
“This is a bold new approach that brings together investors, community organisations and government to drive better outcomes for young people,” McDonald said.
“Young people leaving care deserve every opportunity to fulfil their potential but face so many more barriers to success than other young people in the community.
“COMPASS will give them the support they need to have every chance of success in education, work and life.’’