Our Vision

All young people can make a place to call home.

Our purpose

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 40 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
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Our beginnings

St John’s Youth Services (SJYS) began in 1981, when the parishioners of Adelaide’s St John’s Anglican Church opened their hall to shelter homeless young men who came to the church seeking shelter. From this simple act of practical generosity, SJYS has evolved into a community organisation supporting young people in crisis, regardless of their religious beliefs, cultural backgrounds, gender identities or life circumstances. The provision of professional support without judgement or agenda is exactly as the parish intended, and remains at the heart of all we do.

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Our journey

By 1987, SJYS operated a fully supported emergency night shelter for young men and in 1993 won funding to provide emergency accommodation services for all young people aged 12 – 25 experiencing homelessness in the city. Accommodation and support were delivered from two congregate youth shelters: Burdekin Place for young men and Chisholm Place for young women. 

All young people need a home, but they also need the support and guidance of caring adults to help them develop the stability and skills they need to live independently, and opportunities to succeed at education or access work. SJYS provided advocacy leadership for the adoption of the successful Foyer model to provide a holistic response that captures the young person’s aspirations – and both supports and expects them to achieve their goals. To facilitate the development of a nationwide Foyer movement in Australia, in 2008 SJYS established the national Foyer Foundation.

In the same year SJYS established Next Step, an innovative outreach program based on Foyer principles that leverages our unique relationships with young people who have stayed at our accommodation services.

Next Step provides a genuine opportunity to break the cycle of homelessness through targeted support and training, and assistance in securing sustainable life opportunities.

In January 2011 we opened Foyer Port Adelaide (formerly Ladder St Vincent Street) in the historic Black Diamond Hotel in Port Adelaide. The heritage listed but neglected local landmark was renovated to include 23 self-contained apartments and communal areas for young people, as well as office space for SJYS support workers.

The expansion and evolution of our services continued in 2012, when SJYS closed the youth shelters and established an innovative new support service at Youth110. The world’s first apartment-based response for young people in crisis, Youth110 responds flexibly to all young people in need including singles, couples, siblings and young parents in the UNO residential tower in Adelaide’s CBD. A professional team provides 24/7 care and support to help young people stabilise their lives and find a home of their own.

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Breaking the cycle

Our goal is to break the cycle of homelessness, and our services interconnect to provide holistic, wraparound support tailored to individual need. Whether a young person is already experiencing homelessness, living in private rental but at risk of eviction, or ready to move into a place of their own, our range of programs assist young people at every stage of their housing journey.

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