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Supporting Melbourne's at-risk youth



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Supporting Melbourne's at-risk youth Senator the Hon Jan McLucas Minister for Human Services

30 April 2013

Specialist staff from the Australian Government's Department of Human Services are helping around 25 at-risk youth every week in Melbourne CBD to connect to essential Centrelink payments and services.

Minister for Human Services, Senator Jan McLucas joined by specialist Community Engagement Officers, today visited the Melbourne City Mission Frontyard Youth Services.

Senator McLucas said the visit allowed her to see first-hand the importance of conducting outreach services to ensure vulnerable young people are receiving all the government financial support they are entitled to.

"Community Engagement Officers are able to get away from their desks and into the community, providing vital outreach assistance to people of all ages who are experiencing homelessness," Senator McLucas said.

"Staff regularly visit crisis accommodation services, drug and alcohol rehabilitation services, mental health units and community drop-in centres like Frontyard Youth Services to help people in an environment where they feel most comfortable.

"This outreach support ensures everyone in the community has access to income support payments and other education, training and employment opportunities to help young people build a brighter future for themselves."

"This interaction can make a huge difference to lives of these young people who may be going through a difficult period."

Community Engagement Officer, Orion Erickson said he works collaboratively with Frontyard to better assist young people in inner Melbourne.

"We have an excellent relationship with Frontyard, who provide a range of services for people aged under 25 years in the CBD who are at-risk of homelessness, to help increase their health, wellbeing and security," Mr Erickson said.

"Recently I spoke with a young man who was worried about how he would pay his rent.

"He had a range of mental health issues which impacted his ability to meet Centrelink appointments, which resulted in his Centrelink payments being reduced.

"While we lodged an appeal to restore his payments, the housing workers at Frontyard arranged financial support to allow him to pay his rent. A few days later his full payments were restored.

"By working together we were able to intervene and prevent a rolling debt cycle which would have put this young man into hardship and at risk of homelessness."