Our 60th birthday marks 60 years of experience with young people who don’t have a safe place to call home. HYPA Housing is a large milestone in our work to discover and create what young people – and all people – need to thrive.

SYC has been offering a shopfront and telephone assistance service for young people experiencing homelessness and housing insecurity since 1981, known as Trace-a-Place. By the late 1980’s, it was undeniable that safe and affordable housing for young people was increasingly very difficult to find. It was even harder to hold on to accommodation once found, with many young people experiencing what was coined as the “shelter merry-go-round”.

Our experience and research led us to propose a new, transitional housing model, to sustainably exit young people from homelessness. Our housing model aimed to address a gap in the existing situation. Where young people were struggling to transition from short-term, crisis accommodation into long-term, independent rentals, this model offered a solution. Where young people were struggling to remain in independent housing, due to limited financial literacy, housekeeping and cooking skills, this model offered a solution.

A competition was held in 1989 for the community to submit their plans and ideas for purpose-built young accommodation.

The model

A HYPA Housing property is designed to facilitate supported, community-style living for young people. The important factors in this model are:

  • Affordable rent – capped at a reasonable percentage of the tenant’s income.
  • Reasonable management – a Landlord and Community Co-ordinators who consider all relevant factors when making decisions that affect a tenant, to give them a fair go. Young people at HYPA Housing are active members of the community, co-operating and contributing to the running of the housing complex.
  • On-site mentoring and skill-development – regular, structured and informal support to develop life skills such as budgeting, cooking, managing health and wellbeing, preparing for employment, car maintenance, cleaning and relating well to neighbours.
  • Formal education or employment – each tenant is supported to complete at least 15 hours per week of study or work.
  • Good quality housing – because we believe people deserve clean, secure and functional homes that they are inspired to respect and maintain.
  • Well located housing – for access to support services, study and employment opportunities.

SYC staff proposed the model to almost anyone who was willing to hear it. In 1992, construction of the first 7 units was achieved thanks to Co-operative Group Foundation (now Adelaide Bank and Bendigo Bank), the South Australian Office of Housing, Adelaide City Council, and the Queen Elizabeth II Silver Jubilee Trust for Young Australians.

The original property was opened by then Minister for Housing, Mr Crafter and then Lord Mayor of Adelaide Mr Steve Condous.

Expanding the program

In December 2008, SYC CEO Paul Edginton began conversations with the Playford City Council. He aimed to secure a parcel of land and expand the HYPA Housing program. The Playford area was targeted because of the high proportion of young people and very high unemployment rate. These 24 apartments were completed and tenanted by 2012.

Also in 2012 SYC purchased an additional 8 units in Western Adelaide. The location and style of these units lends them well to small families, couples, siblings and those from culturally diverse backgrounds.

Paul said that, “HYPA Housing helps young people to build a rental history and positive living habits before moving into the private rental market.”

What young people say

Charmaine was one of the first tenants in the Playford properties. She had experienced consistent housing disruption throughout her childhood. For the 10 months before moving into HYPA Housing, she had no fixed address.

“HYPA Housing provided both security and safety plus allowed me to do the things I wanted in my own time. For the first time, I felt like I had freedom,” Charmaine said.

While living in HYPA Housing, Charmaine was able to complete high school. She also completed a Certificate III in Administration and secured casual retail employment.

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Community Support

HYPA Housing has been lucky to have considerable backing from the wider community. They have made contributions through fundraising initiatives and events as well as practical support through volunteering and working-bees. A select few have been especially generous and committed to Adopting a HYPA Housing Apartment for a whole year.

The model experiences continued success with 73 percent of young people consistently moving to a sustainable, independent housing outcome. Countless young people have shared their stories of the personal transformation, increased stability and new opportunities that HYPA Housing has allowed them to have. For these reasons, we continue to pitch the model to anyone and everyone who will let us.