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In October, our Prevention and Early Intervention Project (PEIP) Lead, Tanya Turrell, was invited to attend the Community of Schools and Services Inaugural Community of Practice event held in Geelong.


The event was an opportunity to meet with, and hear from, individuals and organisations from across the country who are all at various stages in implementing a Community of Schools and Services (COSS) approach to homelessness early intervention and prevention.


The COSS model requires collaboration between a range of stakeholders and works across the range of systems that have a role to play in supporting young people within their schools and communities. It was first adopted by The Geelong Project.


The PEIP literature review drew heavily on the work of Professor Gaetz and his colleagues at the Canadian Observatory on Homelessness. In their presentation, they shared their experiences in Canada and the “stubborn resistance to prevention”. A key question that has informed their approach is “What is the role of service providers in ending homelessness?” They suggested that this question lifted the burden from service providers with a recognition of the role of the broader service system.


You can read the Canadian Roadmap for the Prevention of Youth Homelessness here.


The Community of Practice also offered an overview of the COSS Model developments underway in Australia. There are COSS initiatives in Albury, Mt Druitt, Wodonga, Shepparton and Bass Coast – some emerging from services that are frustrated with the way the service system currently operates, and others being generated from government funding. The initiatives are at varying stages of development, with some operational in schools and communities already, and others still undertaking the developmental work required to build partnerships and relationships with schools, services and government stakeholders.


There are many common learnings from the work in different locations, and we can hopefully continue to share challenges and successes with each other as we work towards establishing a way of working that helps young people and their families avoid homelessness.

For more information, please contact Tanya Turrell on