Ms PATTEN (Northern Metropolitan) (17:56): (1419) My adjournment matter is for the Minister for Housing, and that seems very appropriate seeing that it is Homelessness Week. It concerns the really successful Geelong Project. I can see Ms Lovell here in the chamber, and Ms Maxwell. We met the Geelong Project during our inquiry into homelessness. In fact we were so impressed by the early intervention work that they did and the way that they could actually prevent homelessness amongst young people, and they did this through this really innovative work of working with schools and communities. We were so impressed that we made a recommendation for them. Recommendation 19 relates to the expansion of the community of schools and services model, better known as the Geelong Project or the COSS model. We know that this actually has achieved a 40 per cent reduction in adolescent homelessness at the same time as a 20 per cent reduction in early school leaving. It is quite an extraordinary program that does not take a lot of money, that just takes a bit of commitment from schools and government.
Positive outcomes like these are just rarely achieved, and it really again—which is what we learned in the report—highlighted the impact that early intervention can have. We know that if someone becomes homeless when they are young there is a great likelihood that that will go with them for the rest of their lives. There are seven new community sites waiting to implement this model right here, right now. I would like to call it shovel ready, but I am not sure they use a shovel. So the action I am seeking is really straightforward: that the Minister for Housing acts on this recommendation forthwith and takes immediate steps to expand the community of schools and services model to these additional seven community sites.
Fiona Patten MP
Leader of Reason
Member for Northern Metropolitan Region
Adjournment debate 4/8/21