Today, the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare released a report, People turned away from government-funded specialist homelessness accommodation in 2010-11, which shows an increase of over 10,000 people seeking Specialist Homelessness Services from 2009/10. The statistics show that almost 60% of people turned away on an average day were under the age of 20. Adults with children were more likely to be turned away than individuals. Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people are significantly over- represented within the population accessing Specialist Homelessness Services.
“This report highlights what we are seeing on the ground, that there is an urgent need to address youth homelessness. The demand for accommodation continues to outstrip the supply of beds,” said Michael Coffey, CEO of Yfoundations.
The report shows that a lack of access to social housing and declining housing affordability makes it difficult for people to exit Specialist Homelessness Services into stable accommodation of their own, creating a bottleneck within services.
Responding to the report, Mr. Coffey said, “These statistics are unacceptable. It is clear that the current services are filling a vital need nationally. There is good work being done, but services are stretched to capacity. The issue of youth homelessness needs to be an urgent national priority. No young person in Australia should be homeless. Youth homelessness matters.”
Yfoundations is the peak organisation in NSW that seeks to end youth homelessness. Its focus is on building the foundations that support young people to exit homelessness, including wellbeing, home and place, fairness, diversity and connections. Founded in 1979, the organisation aims to represent the needs of young people at risk of or experiencing homelessness and the services that support them.
For further information and comment, please contact:
Michael Coffey, Yfoundations CEO
(m) 0425 228 758