Melbourne City Mission


About this project

When young people become homeless due to structural factors such as poverty, family breakdown, or justice issues, they face significant challenges in accessing housing. Very little private rental housing is affordable for young people, and young people may lack skills and experience needed for independent living. They are often carrying significant trauma from their past. The evidence is clear that becoming and remaining homelessness has long-lasting negative outcomes for young people.

The need for new responses

The current specialist homelessness system is designed for adults and often cannot fully meet young people’s unique needs. Young people need more than a crisis response – they need support to maintain housing, overcome trauma, develop life skills, foster aspirations and pursue independence.

Melbourne City Mission (MCM) supports many young people experiencing disadvantage and homelessness. MCM’s staff identified the need for a new model that more effectively and sustainably supports young people on a pathway out of homelessness. In response, MCM researched and developed the Youth Housing Initiative (YHI), designed around three key pillars – housing, therapeutic support, and case management and living skills support.

Designing robust M&E

MCM recognised early in the program design process that robust Monitoring and Evaluation (M&E) would be essential to support effective learning, to measure success in the YHI pilot, and to maximise the chances of securing continued funding or scaling up the model.

Lirata worked with the YHI team to develop a Theory of Change, Program Logic and key elements of an M&E Framework. This process tested assumptions about how the model would work, and identified changes that could support better achievement of outcomes. Involving the whole YHI team throughout the process helped to nurture a deep and shared understanding of all components of the model and its intended outcomes.

Lirata and MCM are continuing their M&E partnership in 2020-21 as the YHI pilot gets under way. Lirata is assisting with the development of monitoring data collection tools and processes, and integration with the new Client Relationship Management database. We look forward to continuing to support MCM in rolling out this innovative and much-needed Youth Housing Initiative.

Generating evidence to support program success

The Theory of Change and Program Logic are now supporting MCM’s communication and fundraising strategies for the YHI pilot. Robust collection of monitoring data from commencement of the pilot will reduce the risk of data gaps, and enable effective oversight in the crucial early months of implementation.

These M&E processes provide MCM with the information required to undertake program governance and management, to develop and improve the model during the pilot period and beyond, to understand and communicate the initiative’s value, and if warranted to build a case for continuation and expansion of the model.

Young people need more than a crisis response – they need support to maintain housing, overcome trauma, develop life skills, foster aspirations and pursue independence.

Specialist focus


Monitoring, evaluation & learning design


Housing and homelessness
Child, youth and family

Population groups

Young people

Project team

Project Lead

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