Support our homeless youth

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On any given night, 1 in 200 Australians are homeless. Many of these are young people.

Homeless youth face a lonely, dangerous, chaotic existence at a time that should be filled with hope and possibility. In recent months, this crisis has come to the forefront of our city, where the Martin Place ‘tent city’ has brought the largely hidden homeless community into the public eye.

Young people are forced onto the streets due to factors beyond their control, such as family abuse, childhood trauma, unemployment and poverty. With education disrupted and no stable home address, these youth have a greater likelihood of leaving school early and significantly higher unemployment rates than their peers. In addition, they experience a much higher incidence of reported self-injury and attempted suicide.

Once homeless, it is extremely difficult for young people to access the services needed to get them back on their feet. Any support networks, social workers and accommodations that exist are underfunded and overwhelmed by demand. Instead, youth remain on the streets, isolated, vulnerable and discriminated against. Why are we neglecting these youth?

The Youth Parliament of NSW must act now. How can we help?

  • Ensure that social workers can help youth. Social workers are crucial in outreach to vulnerable young people and helping them get back on their feet. We ask that more funding is allocated to support workers and their organisations, including The Salvation Army and Mission Australia.
  • Provide temporary crisis accommodation. Every night, one in two young people who seek a bed from the SAAP (the Supported Accommodation Assistance Program) are turned away because services are full. Currently, only 14 per cent of all homeless people have access to a bed on any given night.
  • Provide job and employment opportunities. Once homeless, it is almost impossible for youth to hold down a job or acquire new skills. We ask for greater funding and government support for employment services.

The Youth Parliament of NSW must step up and commit to actively supporting some of our most vulnerable young people.

Homeless youth have the right to safety, dignity and support. It’s time for something to be done.

 



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