Helping The Homeless

The Rotary Club of Greenvale with the help of Broadmeadows, Craigieburn, Sunbury, and Romsey/Lancefield Rotary Clubs, Aitken College Interact and the Grenroy RSL were delighted to present a brand-new Mazda 2 to Ritchie Goonan, Executive Manager-Community Health for Youth Projects on April 5th, 2023 . The car will be based in Glenroy and used by their “Youth Holistic Outreach Program”.



Youth Holistic Outreach Program (YHOP)  is an early intervention assertive outreach service delivered by Youth Projects. YHOP engages and connects at-risk young people aged 12 to 25 years to individualised housing, mental health education, training, employment and crisis supports. YHOP’s team engages young people to support them to access the services they need and builds their capacity to navigate these systems with the help of family and friends. 
The YHOP model is pro-active in that they do not wait for referrals to come them. YHOP outreaches assertively to hard-to-reach young people, targeting those who are disadvantaged, disengaged and marginalised, and particularly focusing on those who do not seek help for themselves. They don’t wait for young people to find them; they go out and find those in need, engage them, and support them.  YHOP works with young people for periods of up to 6 months to overcome barriers, and provide tailored, flexible and holistic support, based on the needs, goals and aspirations of each young person. Youth Projects needs to be out in the community wherever young people need them – driving to where contact can be made, so that trust can be developed,  and then driving them to appointments or where they need to go to receive help.
Support from Greenvale Rotary will allow the YHOP team to have a dedicated vehicle to be truly responsive, dynamic and agile in getting to the places, houses, schools, shopping centres, where young people in need can be found. If this cohort need to attend vital appointments they can be provide transport and support.  From there, they know they can make an impact on the lives of young people, helping re-engage with main line community and hope.
The Rotary Club of Greenvale first became interested in a project to help the homeless in the north and north-western suburbs of Melbourne 8 or 9 years ago.  It started a project aimed to equip a van with a washing machine and drier which could travel to the homeless and wash their clothes and help with sanitation.  Unfortunately we were unable to deliver this project due to forces we could not control.
However our desire to help people out of homelessness did not diminish and we started looking for another vehicle that could achieve our aims. After a couple of years of research we found Youth Projects and YHOP.  At the time YHOP was running an early intervention initiative to support young people who were at risk of experiencing homelessness or were homeless in the Hume and Moreland region. They were incredibly knowledgeable about community support services availability, eligibility for those services, and referral pathways to maximize the quality of outcomes for what are very real and very complex problems for this section of young people. What they needed most was a dedicated car flexible enough to get immediate contact with a young susceptible individual so they could develop “Trust”. Once trust was established, help could then be offered, taken and a path to avoid homelessness or to get out of a homeless situation begun.
The aim of the Project was now defined.  “Purchase a Car” The next question was how to raise the money?
Rotary Clubs in Australia are variable in size and the smaller clubs, like Greenvale, have limited potential to raise large sums of money quickly.  So we decided that if the idea was good enough and we presented it to the other smaller Service clubs in our area they would probably want to support the project. With their help and money received from Rotary District 9790 we raised the $21,000 needed to buy the car. We also developed friendships and working relationships with many other small clubs and believe that we now have a valuable model to help any small Rotary Club achieve significant project goals of service within the community