Youth Affairs Council Victoria (YACVic) is thrilled to announce a new YACVic Young Thinker in Residence in partnership with Melbourne City Mission during Homelessness Week 2018.

YACVic is the peak body and leading advocate for young people and the youth sector in Victoria. The innovative Young Thinker in Residence program employs young people to research and advocate on a social policy topic. Previous Young Thinkers have focused on family violence and transitions from out-of-home care.

“YACVic passionately believes that young people are the experts in their own lives. We are proud to once more support young Victorians to think on social and political issues and help amplify their voices alongside our first ever sponsor, Melbourne City Mission,” Leo Fieldgrass, YACVic CEO said. “We know that 39% of Victorians counted as homeless on Census night in 2016 were under 25 years of age. YACVic and Melbourne City Mission have teamed up to support a young person with lived experience of homelessness to lead the conversations that affect them.”

Moumen (Mo) Omar, the new YACVic/Melbourne City Mission Young Thinker in Residence, is a young, queer, person of colour who has lived experience of homelessness. Mo will be ‘thinking’ on the topic of youth homelessness and its relationship to QTPOC (queer transgender people of colour) young people.

Mo will be supported by dedicated mentors, while developing practical skills in research, advocacy and policy, accessing leadership and development opportunities and building professional networks.

"Melbourne City Mission is thrilled to sponsor a YACVic Young Thinker in Residence, and looks forward to supporting Mo to bring their research project to life,” said Vicki Sutton, Melbourne City Mission CEO.

"As Victoria's largest-funded provider of youth homelessness services, we know that LGBTIQ+ young people are significantly over-represented in homelessness data,” Ms Sutton said. “Mo will bring insights, knowledge and perspectives that will deepen our understanding of the experiences and needs of gender-diverse and same-sex attracted young people who are homeless or at risk of homelessness. Crucially, Mo's research will shine a light on new solutions at a policy and practice level.”

Read about YACVic’s Young Thinker in Residence Program here. For more information please get in touch with Sam Champion, Participation and Development Coordinator, on 9267 3799 or via pdc@yacvic.org.au.

Quotes attributable to Leo Fieldgrass, Youth Affairs Council Victoria CEO

“The partnership with Melbourne City Mission for the second year of the Young Thinker program is key to a stronger youth sector where young people are the drivers of ideas, enquiry and advocacy practice. The access to mentorship from leading youth organisations in the Young Thinker program is unparalleled and will help the Young Thinker build their advocacy skills and directly impact policy development and service design.”

Further comment: Leo Fieldgrass – CEO, Youth Affairs Council Victoria – 0439 254 667 or ceo@yacvic.org.au.