We believe in young people. Our work with young people is grounded in five Foundation Principles, which have guided the way we work with young people for more than 20 years:
- Creating an environment where young people make strong and positive choices in their lives
- Keeping the best interests of young people as our primary focus
- Advocating for the rights of young people and agitating for change
- Encouraging innovation, cooperation and participation
- Striving for excellence in all aspects of our operations
About St John’s Youth Services
St John’s Youth Services works with young people in the Adelaide metropolitan area aged from 16 to 25, who are experiencing or at risk of homelessness. As well as individuals, we support young parents and their dependent children, and can accommodate single mums or dads and their children, as well as couples.
St John’s Youth Services was established by the parishioners of St John’s Anglican Church in 1981, and by 1987 had established a night shelter for young men in the City of Adelaide. Over the years the service expanded to include women and dependent children in short term collegiate-based accommodation. While the shelters provided safety and temporary relief from homelessness, they weren’t enough to change the direction of young lives. Young men and women left the shelters only to return again and again, becoming trapped in a cycle of homelessness and dependency that overwhelmed their capacity to move forward.
Creating real and lasting change required a bold and innovative response, so St John’s Youth Services sought a new way to work with young people that would break the cycle of homelessness for good.
Intensive research resulted in the closure of the shelters, the opening of the world’s first apartment-based youth crisis service, youth110, and the establishment of South Australia’s first Foyer accommodation complex, Ladder St Vincent Street.
While Ladder St Vincent Street and youth110 achieve outstanding outcomes, more is needed to ensure that when the time comes to move on from supported accommodation, young people have the skills they need to put homelessness behind them for good. The solution is Next Step, an innovative program designed to build upon the unique relationship established with the young people who have used St John’s Youth Services accommodation services.
Next Step is an intensive, individualised and long-term solution to homelessness that equips young people with the skills they need to succeed. Young people are supported to move into independence by ensuring access to the private rental market, engagement with work or education and connection to their local communities. This strengths-based approach focuses on each young person’s capacity to overcome the challenges that have led them into homelessness, and to take control of their future.
The effectiveness of St John’s Youth Services’ programs has been recognised by several awards, including the UNESCO (Adelaide Chapter) Achievement Award, the 2009 Anglicare Innovation Award and the 2009 Australasian Housing Institute Award for Leading Housing Solutions.