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Berry Street’s GOALS (Going Out and Living Successfully) program provides support and accommodation for young people aged 16 to 25 who are homeless, at risk of homelessness or about to leave out-of-home care. The program helps young people who have experienced disadvantages to develop the skills they need to live independently.

Seventeen-year-old Amelia* was referred to the GOALS program in Gippsland last year after having been in and out of residential care for several years due to a highly volatile, abusive, and often violent relationship with her mother.

Program removes barriers to independent living

Amelia had faced many barriers to finding secure accommodation and the support she needed – the pandemic, combined with the current housing crisis, had only made matters worse.

After being referred to the GOALS program, Amelia had her first interview with the team; she shared how she wanted to live independently and finish school. At the top of her priority list was her personal safety, a secure place to call home and her education, as well as to stay connected with her siblings.

Amelia was accepted into the GOALS program and moved into a unit in July 2021.

All GOALS program residents, like Amelia, are provided with safe, secure and sustainable long-term accommodation and support from Berry Street staff, as well as a live-in mentor. In return, the young people and families pay for their own groceries and any other costs associated with independent living, such as clothing and travel. This allows residents to focus on their studies, or find employment, without worrying about their personal safety, where their next meal is coming from or where they might sleep each night.

One of the GOALS program’s 13 units, located in Traralgon and Morwell

A place to finally call home

Berry Street staff noticed an immediate positive change in Amelia's demeanour, as she settled into a place that she could finally call ‘home.’

Amelia is an inspiration for other young people – she is resourceful, resilient and demonstrates maturity beyond her years.

Amelia's case manager

Amelia is a great cook and is learning to budget and save so that she will be able to buy her first car. She can identify stressors that affect her mental health and knows how to seek help when needed. Amelia has also been matched with an L2P mentor who will provide supervised driving hours so that she can attain her probationary licence over the coming months.

Since starting with the program, Amelia secured a part-time job, completed school and has been accepted to study a TAFE course in 2022.

In the last month, Amelia has also worked on repairing her relationship with her family and every so often has her little sister come for a visit.

Empowered by her resilience, positive attitude and commitment to succeed, Amelia's future is looking brighter than ever.

*Name has been changed in the interest of privacy. The models and volunteers pictured are not connected to the case study.