A Way Home Australia, auspiced by Youth Development Australia Ltd, is a coalition of organisations and individuals committed to reducing and ending youth homelessness. It is not a peak body that represents its member organisations. A Way Home Australia represents the lived experience of homeless young people and harnesses the collective expertise of a range of stakeholders and advocates.
Youth homelessness will not be prevented or ended simply by the efforts of the youth homelessness service sector. That has been the struggle that has engaged us for some decades. The current service sector has failed to produce the reform we need for young people. In facing up to that truth, we take nothing away from the excellent efforts of these services. However, we need to make a radical shift from programmatic responses to youth homelessness to a cross-sectoral system change approach, which will be achieved through place-based ‘collective impact’ reforms.
THE PROBLEM OF
In 2017-18, 288,000 men, women and children sought help from Specialist Homelessness Services. Some 43 percent were young adults, adolescents and children – 43,180 young people (16%) aged 15-24 years on their own and 81,473 young parents and children.
Many more young Australians experience homelessness now in comparison to a decade ago.
Youth homelessness is not simply a housing problem; nor is it only a problem of family breakdowns.
Youth homelessness is a complex problem – and it has several layers of complexity which requires multi-sectoral system change, not simplistic, crises-orientated, responses.
WHAT WE WANT
We appeal to all politicians – Federal, State and Territory, who care about what many of our homeless young people must deal with – to actively support the following priorities.
Firstly, our effort needs to be strategic, adequately resourced, and national unlike the present arrangements. A National Strategy Plan for Ending Youth Homelessness is required – a long-term effort to end youth homelessness. This needs to be part of a national strategy and plan, as is done in other high priority areas of social policy.
Secondly a commitment from COAG that funding provided through the National Housing and Homelessness Agreement will be annually adjusted in line with CPI and population growth.
We urge COAG to invest in four strategic reforms, that if adequately resourced will significantly begin to prevent and end youth homelessness in Australia.
FOUR STRATEGIC REFORMS
We are seeking an investment of $310 million over 10 years for a staged implementation of the Community of Schools and Services Model (COSS).
We are seeking a commitment from Commonwealth, State and Territory governments that all future announcements of investment in social housing include a quota of 5% of all new stock to be dedicated to young people/families under 25 years old.
We are seeking $52 million, phased in over 4 years from the Australian Government, to adequately extend the funded support of young people in care until they are 21 years old.
LEARNING & EMPLOYMENT SUPPORT
We are seeking an investment which increases over 6 years to a recurrent level of $56M P.A to fund 147 place-based ‘Learning and Employment Networks’.