The Liberal Member for Northern Victoria Wendy Lovell has called on the Andrews Labor Government to provide funding for The Wodonga Project, aimed at helping disadvantaged youth in the surrounding region.
Speaking during the adjournment debate in the last parliamentary sitting week of the year, Ms Lovell called on Minister for Housing Richard Wynne to commit recurrent funding of $838,172 per annum over four years to allow lead agency Junction Support Services and other community stakeholders to implement the project, which is centred around a community of schools and services model, also known as the COSS Model.
Ms Lovell said the project relies on early intervention to achieve results and is based on The Geelong Project, which has achieved a 40% reduction in adolescent homelessness and a 20% reduction in disengagement from education across three pilot schools in Geelong region using the COSS Model principles.
Ms Lovell said modelling suggests The Wodonga Project would provide a social return of $5 for every $1 invested, an indication of the benefits that early intervention plays in changing a young person’s individual circumstances.
Comments attributable to Member for Northern Victoria Wendy Lovell:
“The Wodonga Project is a community driven reform initiative to tackle youth disadvantage in the region and the Minister needs to work with the community to implement this program to improve the lives of local youth.
“The Inquiry into Homelessness recommended the Victorian Government invest in initiatives throughout Victoria that were linked to the COSS Model and I urge the Minister help address youth disadvantage in the Wodonga region and provide the funding needed to make The Wodonga Project a reality.”
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