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Brotherhood of St Laurence - Working for an Australia free of poverty Brotherhood Update - Research and policy update from the Brotherhood of St Laurence

July 2019

This month we celebrate the publication of a major report from the Education First Youth Foyers study, with important learnings about responding effectively to youth homelessness.

Energy pricing and contracts, and a proposed spent convictions scheme for Victoria, are the subjects of our latest policy submissions.

A quarterly digest funded by the Brotherhood explains recent decisions made by the Administrative Appeals Tribunal regarding funding for individual plans under the National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS).

Please share Brotherhood Update with your colleagues and encourage them to subscribe.

RESEARCH The real deal of addressing youth homelessness

Education First Youth Foyer participants

A five-year longitudinal study shows the empowering effect of a new approach to youth homelessness. The Brotherhood of St Laurence and Launch Housing developed the distinctive concept of Education First Youth Foyers, which challenges a persistent crisis narrative.

The foyers are co-located on TAFE campuses in Broadmeadows, Glen Waverley and Shepparton in regional Victoria. Each houses 40 young people in studio accommodation with communal areas, supported by trained staff. In a reciprocal ‘Deal’, the young people commit to participate in education and five other service offers, and foyer staff agree to provide them with accommodation, opportunities and inclusion in a learning community for up to two years.

Read the report by Marion Coddou, Joseph Borlagdan and Shelley Mallett, Starting a future that means something to you: outcomes from a longitudinal study of Education First Youth Foyers. (PDF, 1.3 MB) or summary (PDF, 65 KB)


The Brotherhood of St Laurence commissioned KPMG to conduct an evidence-based analysis of the value for money offered by the Education First Youth Foyer model.

Read the report by KPMG, Education First Youth Foyers: economic evaluation (PDF, 386 KB)

MEDIA Seizing the Education First Youth Foyers deal: Hayden's story

The story of Hayden, a participant in one of the Education First Youth Foyers, was told by Henrietta Cook in the Age.

Read A deal Hayden couldn’t refuse: cheap housing in exchange for study

POLICY Towards clear and fair energy contracts for Victorians

Making the energy market fairer and less confusing for all households continues to be a major focus of the Brotherhood. Our two latest policy submissions to the Essential Services Commission make comments about clear and fair energy contracts (PDF, 141 KB) and about  ensuring customers are informed about the Victorian Default Offer (electricity price) that is available from 1 July (PDF, 41 KB).

POLICY Insights from administrative appeals decisions in the National Disability Insurance Scheme

Growing seedlings

The AAT NDIS Decision Digest informs NDIS participants, their supporters, administrators and service providers about how the Administrative Appeals Tribunal is interpreting the scheme guidelines. Prepared by the Living with Disability Research Centre at La Trobe University, the digest has been funded by the Brotherhood of St Laurence in association with our research and policy work.

Read the Winter 2019 issue of the Quarterly Digest of Published Decisions about the NDIS from the Administrative Appeals Tribunal (PDF, 3 MB)

POLICY A conviction should not be a life sentence

Criss-crossing railway tracks

Out-of-date or minor criminal records can be a continuing barrier to employment and social participation, especially for Aboriginal Victorians. The Brotherhood supports the concept of a legislated spent convictions scheme, which would help to overcome discrimination and encourage people to reconnect with their culture and re-engage with services.

Read our submission to the Legislative Council Legal and Social Issues Committee re spent convictions scheme for Victoria (PDF, 127 KB)