(03) 9093 7500

Frequently Asked Questions

Our most commonly asked questions:

What are the criteria for acceptance into a Lighthouse home?

Our target group is 15 – 22 year olds who are at risk in their current living arrangements. A sense of desire and willingness to adhere to Lighthouse guidelines is a key focus for acceptance into the Lighthouse Program.

Where do the young people live?

Lighthouse accommodates young people in suburban homes within the Melbourne metropolitan area and regional Victoria. The Lighthouse Foundation took possession of its first home early in 1994.

How long do young people stay with Lighthouse?

The Lighthouse policy is to take in a young person for as long as it takes them to reintegrate into the community. This may take months for some, or years for others.

Lighthouse offers “life membership” and all young people qualify for this opportunity. The form and nature of the life membership reflects the capacity within the individual young person.

Who are the Lighthouse young people?

They are young people ‘at risk’ with personal safety issues that contribute to their homelessness. They frequently come from a background of abuse, neglect and exploitation. They present with complex problems including: mental illness; general health problems; substance abuse; suicidal tendencies; unemployment; limited education, life and social skills; financial disadvantage; challenging and anti-social behaviour; a juvenile justice history and psychological adjustment difficulties.

Psychological assessment of the young people that use the Lighthouse services reveal that many suffer from some degree of psychiatric pathology. The most common of these are Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, Depression Dissociative Disorder and Borderline Personality Disorder.

In every circumstance the safety and security of the young person is of primary concern. And while every effort is made to maintain or reconcile family relationships, safety for everyone is Lighthouse’s priority.

Where do the young people come from?

Young people are referred from a variety of sources including schools, families, youth welfare organisations, the Department of Human Services, Juvenile Justice System and crisis accommodation services.

How many young people does Lighthouse Foundation support?

Lighthouse cares for up to 40 young people in our Lighthouse homes. Hundreds more have transitioned to independent living but continue to be supported through our Outreach Programs.

How is Lighthouse Foundation funded?

Ours is a commitment to both the young people we work with and to our funding partners. Lighthouse is a ‘good investment’. Our sustainability is guaranteed by the innovative approach we have to funding and our non-reliance on one particular funding source. Currently our funds are generated through business partnerships, grants from philanthropic trusts and foundations, donation campaigns, events, business enterprises, and support from wealthy individuals and families.

We have established our own trust fund to generate further sustainable income and will soon be commencing a bequest program. Talks continue with government for financial support but we do not receive any recurrent government funding. The Victorian State Government has provided interest-free loans for the purchase/construction of Lighthouse homes.

Many of our Lighthouse homes are provided rent-free by partners or benefactors. Each Lighthouse home has a voluntary local Community Committee responsible for raising $20,000 towards operating the home.

How does Lighthouse work with the community?

Lighthouse can only operate with the support of our communities. The model we use is designed to build community into everything that we do.

Each Lighthouse home, supported by its own local Community Committee, is an example of how community can be woven into the lives of our young people – using community to help them build positive futures.

Volunteers from a range of professional backgrounds are enlisted to support the young people’s specific needs (eg recreation, tutoring, mentoring). Where it is not possible to provide these services using volunteers, funds are raised to cover the cost of the services required.

People in the community are very supportive of Lighthouse and its young people. Local businesses provide goods, and volunteers garden, cook and ‘grandparent’ the young people. For many of our young people Lighthouse is their first experience of traditional family/community life.

We place high value on the safety and protection of our young people and we stringently screen all paid and unpaid staff prior to commencement of service.

How successful is the Lighthouse Therapeutic Family Model of Care?

Highly successful! The majority of our young people have managed their anxiety, addictions and symptoms and have progressed into the job market, developed supportive relationships and secured membership into the broader community.

Why support Lighthouse young people?

The number of homeless young people is escalating, representing a crisis in our community. Lighthouse supports the concept of empowering young people to make better life choices, be entrepreneurial, and cease to be victims of their circumstances. We seek to assist young people break the generational cycle of welfare dependency.

The Lighthouse Foundation model demonstrates that it is possible to work co-operatively to achieve a common end – to care for our young. Everyone needs a community and requires a sense of belonging in order to achieve a sense of worth and meaning in life.


Volunteer frequently asked questions:

Can I volunteer if I work full time?

Lighthouse Foundation has a variety of volunteer opportunities, some within business hours and some outside. If you work full time there are many opportunities such as joining a community committee, assisting in maintenance at the home, participating in a Lighthouse event or general fundraising. These positions are all vital to the operation of the Lighthouse Foundation, if you believe you could help please register your details in our volunteer application form and we will be in contact as soon as possible.

What skills and experience do I need to volunteer?

Each volunteer role differs for the skills needed; however most of our positions have on the job training and are suitable for anyone. Lighthouse doe require that our volunteers undertake a Working with Children Check and a Police Check before beginning. If you have a particular skill set that you are interested in donating Lighthouse, such as gardening or building, please contact our Volunteer Coordinator for more information

Does Lighthouse accept internships and student placements?

While Lighthouse does accept a small number per year, there are currently no placements available in the care team. If you are interested in a placement or internship in marketing, communications or fundraising, please email marketing@lighthousefoundation.org.au for more information.

Are there ways I can contribute to Lighthouse without Volunteering?

If there are no available volunteer positions within Lighthouse, or if you do not have the time, we encourage you to participate by becoming a ‘Lighthouse Keeper’ and making a small donation through our website. No amount is too small and every contribution brings us a step closer to ending youth homelessness in Australia. Alternatively, you could hold a fundraiser where the proceeds are given to Lighthouse; please see our Fundraising tab for more details.


Did we answer your question?

If your question wasn’t answered above, please give us a call on 03 9093 7500 or send us an email.