Youth Homelessness Matters to Us

April 15 marks Youth Homelessness Matters Day.  The day aims to not only raise awareness of this important issue, but to also support the dreams of homeless youth.   

The YHMD campaign theme this year is “With a home a young person could…. “. 

According to the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) Census data 2016, more than 27,600 young people in Australia aged 12-24 don’t have a safe, secure home. One in four homeless Australians are under the age of 25. 

In order to work out how many people are homeless, the ABS counts people who are living somewhere temporarily, in a boarding house, living in supported homelessness accommodation, sleeping out (or in cars, tents or squats) and living in ‘severely’ crowded dwellings. Young people are often hidden from view, sleeping on couches, in cars, in refuges or in severely crowded dwellings.  

The ABS define someone as homeless if their current living arrangement: 

  • is in a dwelling that is inadequate; or 
  • has no tenure, or if their initial tenure is short and not extendable; or 
  • does not allow them to have control of or, access to space for social relations. 

According to the Council for Homeless Persons most young people who experience homelessness have been forced to leave their home due to family breakdown, violence, or when their family is forced into homelessness following a crisis.  

Unison is one of the largest providers of services for people who experience or at risk of homelessness in the western region of Melbourne.  

The Unison Housing Research Lab’s report Who stays, who leaves and why. Occupancy patterns at Unison Housing between 2014 and 2016, has identified young people as a group at risk of early tenancy loss and in need of focussed support to sustain their housing. 

Every young person needs and deserves a safe, secure and affordable home. Together with our partners, we have a number of initiatives specifically focussed on vulnerable young people. 

 

A new purpose-built supported accommodation for young people in Werribee will provide accommodation and dedicated case work support to young people aged 16-25 for up to two years. The program, delivered in partnership by Unison and Melbourne City Mission (MCM), aims to prevent adult homelessness and establish young people in safe and secure housing at a critical developmental life stage. 

Unison also works in partnership with MCM in inner city Melbourne providing two youth-specific programs utilising MCM’s supported accommodation model and dedicated housing. The youth-specific housing and case management support model is based on three key elements: Living skills, employment and training and transition to independence. 

Safiya, a Unison Place Manager, explained the importance of a stable home for young people.  

“It is great to see how stable and secure housing can help young people develop. Many of the young residents have come from traumatic and unstable circumstances.  

With a home a young person can look forward, to think about university and work, and pursue these aspirations with the support of MCM. 

There’s a myth that young people choose to be homeless. Nothing could be further from the truth. 

 

For further information about Unison’s homelessness services click here. 

The Council to Homeless Persons website has information that also may be of help.

For help and assistance click here. 

For key statistics and information click here.