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Reducing youth homelessness

Published 10th September, 2018

Increase the proportion of young people who successfully move from Specialist Homelessness Services to long-term accommodation to more than 34 per cent by 2019.

Why is this important to the people of NSW?

Too many of Australia’s homeless are young. Being homeless can interrupt their access to education and training, and have a negative effect on their physical and mental health.

In 2017-18, more than 18,108 young people aged 15-24 years were helped by specialist homelessness services in NSW. Some were alone and had been living in unstable housing, which means they were sleeping rough, living in boarding houses, motels or in crisis refuges, or couch-surfing with family and friends.

Young people experiencing homelessness are very vulnerable.

  • more than 90 per cent have witnessed violence in their home
  • 60 per cent have been in out-of-home care
  • more than 50 per cent have mental health conditions.

What are specialist homelessness services?

These government-funded services help people who are either homeless or at risk of homelessness. Delivered by non-government organisations (NGOs), they include support and accommodation, with a focus on early intervention to prevent people from becoming homeless.

This priority aims to increase the number of young people who transition from specialist homelessness services to stable long-term accommodation.

What is stable housing?

Stable housing is renting, or living rent-free, in private, public or community housing. This includes share households (as defined by the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare).

How are we tracking?

In NSW during 2017-18, more than 5531 young people aged 15-24 years were living in unstable housing and needed specialist homelessness services.

  • by the end of their support from these services, 1918 (34.7 per cent), were living in stable housing
  • by June 2019, more than one in three (34 per cent) of these young people will move to stable housing after using specialist homelessness services.

What are we doing?

The Rent Choice Youth Subsidy

Rent Choice Youth helps young people at risk of homelessness to rent in the private market. Under the subsidy, young people pay rent starting at 25 per cent of their income. As their capacity to pay market rent increases, the amount paid by the government tapers off.

Rent Choice Youth is now rolled out in Newcastle, Tamworth, Penrith/Blue Mountains, Orange/Bathurst, Wagga, Central Coast, South Eastern and Northern Sydney, Queanbeyan, Lismore, South Western Sydney, Western Sydney, Wollongong and Coffs Harbour.

Supporting young people leaving out-of-home care

The Premier's Youth Initiative will pilot a new approach that supports vulnerable young people leaving out-of-home care. Young people will be provided with a combination of personal advice, education and employment mentoring, transitional accommodation support and long-term accommodation to help them transition to independence. 

Services for this pilot will roll out in a staged process during 2017 and early 2018.  Locations include the Hunter, Central Coast, South West Sydney, Nepean Blue Mountains, New England, Western NSW, Northern NSW, Mid North Coast, Illawarra Shoalhaven and Southern NSW. 

Targeted funding

In 2018-19, the Department of Family and Community Services (FACS) will invest more than $1 billion into social housing and homelessness services. This funding supports people of all ages who are at risk of homelessness. Young people will received targeted funding from:

  • $202.8 million for specialist homelessness services (including youth services) and critical referral services such as Link2home
  • $14.1 million for the Premier’s Youth Homelessness initiative, which provides support to young people leaving out-of-home care.

What can you do?

Do you own property and want to help?

Real estate agents and landlords can help by partnering with local specialist homelessness services to provide long-term accommodation for young people.

Find a lead specialist homelessness service provider near you

Are you homeless or at risk of homelessness?

  • CALL Link2home – 1800 152 152
  • The Domestic Violence line – 1800 65 64 63
  • Homelessness NSW – 02 8354 7600

For more information

Published 10th September, 2018
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