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Reducing youth homelessness

Published 14th October, 2016

Increase the proportion of young people who successfully move from Specialist Homelessness Services to long-term accommodation by ten per cent

Why is this important?

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.

Up to
of Australia's homeless
population is under 25 years old
Up to
are aged between 15 and 24

In 2014-15, more than 14,000 young people aged 15-24 years were helped by specialist homelessness services in NSW. Of these, 4,521 (32.3 per cent) 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.

Homelessness is complex

There's more to it than having nowhere to live. Personal circumstances such as mental health, relationship breakdown and drug and alcohol abuse are complicated by poverty, unemployment and unaffordable housing.

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.

What is stable housing?

Stable housing is renting, or living rent-free, in private, public or community housing. This includes share households. 

How is the government tracking?

Reducing youth homelessness graph

  • In NSW 2014-15, more than 4,521 young people aged 15-24 years needed specialist homelessness services, as they were living in unstable housing.
  • By the end of their support from these services, 1,367, or 30.2%, were living in stable housing.
  • A 10 per cent target increase will mean that one in three (32.2 per cent) of these young people will move to stable housing after using specialist homelessness services.

What is the government doing?

Private rental subsidies

The NSW Government is expanding the Youth Private Rental Subsidy so more young people at risk of becoming homeless can 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.

The Subsidy was first offered in Hunter New England, and is now rolled-out to Tamworth, Newcastle, Penrith/Blue Mountains, Orange/Bathurst, Wagga, Central Coast, South East Sydney and Queanbeyan. 

The Premier's Youth Initiative

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.

Targeted funding

In 2016-17, FACS will allocate up to $59 million to youth homelessness services and initiatives.

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 *New number

For more information

Published 14th October, 2016