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Why does Youth Homelessness matter?

Youth homelessness matters - to all of us! Every young person holds enormous potential - and deserves the best start in life, including a safe and stable home. 


Youth homelessness matters - to all of us! Every young person holds enormous potential - and deserves the best start in life, including a safe and stable home. 

It's not ok that more than 22,000 Victorians under 18 accessed a Specialist Homelessness Service last year, often driven by poverty and family violence. As part of the Melbourne Zero movement, together, we're doing something about it.

We're excited to share that the movement to end homelessness in Melbourne has grown to over 2,000 passionate people, with STREAT and Readings recently joining the Melbourne Zero Network of brands and businesses taking action.

Wednesday 19th April is Youth Homelessness Matters Day, shining a light on the issues faced by young people experiencing homelessness - and the solutions. Find out how to get involved in HoMie's Hoodies 4 Homelessness campaign below. And don't miss our TikTok and Instagram, which will be taken over by the voices of young people that day.

Please keep amplifying our Call for Change in your community.

Together, we will create a liveable city for all of us.


Ending youth homelessness one thread at a time

A young woman poses with attitude in a HoMie branded hoodie

"As soon as I started working there, everyone just embraced me and taught me everything… it's one of the first workplaces where I'm excited to go back in the morning" - Homie Pathway Alliance Alumni.

Melbourne Zero Network member HoMie is more than a clothing label - it's a social enterprise changing lives and inspiring hope. 

Their story began in 2015 with a "Homelessness of Melbourne" Facebook page. Their mission to challenge the stigma surrounding homelessness and provide young people with the tools they need to succeed has seen the organisation grow into a thriving clothing label, impacting the lives of 1,500+ young people affected by homelessness and hardship to date. 


100% of HoMie's retail profits support this mission, with every purchase directly supporting young people in need. Additionally, their Pathway Alliance, an 8-month paid retail internship program, offers young people valuable experience and skills to break free from the cycle of homelessness and shape their own future.

Change is happening in Port Phillip

Port Phillip Bay foreshore

The city of Port Phillip features sunny St Kilda, Port Melbourne, Albert Park – and Victoria's very first Zero project! Started in July 2019 with the goal to achieve 'functional zero' homelessness for people sleeping rough in the LGA by December 2024, the project brings together many partners across the local service system with council for a truly client-centred approach that helps build trust with people who've often been moved from service to service over many years of homelessness. 

 Consistent strong participation by these partners and available suitable permanent housing has seen Port Phillip's active homeless rate reach its lowest point since the city's By Name List was created - 60% lower than the peak. As of late March, the By Name List reported 54 people actively homeless, 23 of whom were sleeping rough. With continued collaboration, Port Phillip is tracking towards its goal of zero homelessness in late 2024.

Ending homelessness IS possible.

Read more here.

From sleeping rough to a sense of belonging

Facing homelessness at 15, Nikolai navigated couch surfing, rough sleeping, and transitional housing, all while confronting societal judgement and trauma.

 “(My housing support worker) helped me through one of the hardest times of my life… he helped me access mental health support, housing support, and, eventually, helped me move into where I am someone experiencing homelessness at a young age…there is hope”, said Nikolai. “it may be difficult now, but you do have a future”.

Nikolai believes addressing homelessness requires education, community involvement, and increased government funding. Programs like Youth Foyers offer a great start for many young people, but more housing with support is needed to end homelessness.

Watch Nikolai's story.

A young man, standing in a kitchen, stares thoughtfully at the camera.


You'd have no idea that I was homeless as a teenage

My name is Stephen, and I'm a Director and Auctioneer at Marshall White in Brighton.  

Today, people entrust me to sell their homes that are sometimes worth in excess of $20 million dollars. My experience shows homelessness can happen to anyone. It's not an identity. It's a stage that some people go through in their lives that they can get through if they receive the right help. 

Read Stephen's Story 

Stephen Smith sits on chair in a bright room


Take action
: Wear your heart on your hoodie this Youth Homelessness Matters Day

On 19th April, HoMie is calling for all Melburnians to show they believe youth homelessness matters by wearing a hoodie - a small act that can have a big impact. 

Whether you're going to work, school, or just out and about, wear your hoodie, spread the word that youth homelessness matters, and make a difference. Throw on your hoodie and snap a pic with the hashtag #hoodies4homelessness – let's get more people talking about this important issue!

Read more. 

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Add your voice today

From business leaders to your next-door neighbours, we're calling on every Melburnian to join the Melbourne Zero movement and help end homelessness in our city.