1 In 2 Young People Are Being Turned Away From Accessing Crisis Housing Accomodation

Young woman crosses the street

In the midst of a housing and cost of living crisis young people are finding it increasingly harder to find a place to call home.

TikToks capturing hordes of people inspecting (most likely) mould speckled homes on the weekends and conversations of significant rent hikes have become fixtures of what it means to be a young person right now, and for some, things can only be spread so thin before it crumbles.

This week marks National Homelessness Week, and has prompted the NSW Government to reaffirm its plan to drive down homelessness across the state.

This includes a commitment to 30 per cent social and affordable housing on developments on government surplus public land, extended temporary accommodation from two days to seven days and the appointment of a rental commission among other commitments

The Australian Housing and Urban Research Institute has found that 54 percent of young people who leave out-of-home-care services have experienced homelessness within just four years, and although the commitments from the state government are a great step forward, none of the commitments are specialised or targeted towards young people who are often deprioritised within the system.

The most recent data from Specialist Homelessness Services found that almost 40,000 young people aged 15 to 24 years presented alone to a specialist service over 2021–2022, the third largest group to access this service. 

Yfoundations is the NSW youth homelessness peak body and chief executive officer Trish Connolly spoke to PEDESTRIAN.TV about the “adultification” of housing services, stating that the varying needs and requirements that young people require are often distinctly different to those of adults. 

“We overlook our young people, and our young people deserve more than that.”

The coalescence of issues that has produced our current economic environment is pushing our crisis centres to breaking point. Currently one in two young people are being turned away from crisis beds at Yfoundations.

We don’t know the full extent of homelessness rates for young people as some of the data doesn’t capture those who are couch surfing or staying in overcrowded homes. This makes it tough to get a clear picture of how many young people are living in insecure housing.

Yfoundations is calling on the government to develop a standalone national strategy to end youth homelessness and acknowledge the numerous factors that can be triggers to a pathway to homelessness for young people.

Connolly says that it’s vital to ask, “how do we prevent this in the first place?”

“We need early intervention, more crisis beds, better access to affordable housing, mental health services and a productivity commission because no one thing is going to be a silver bullet.”

Addressing this problem across the age spectrum is a good step forward, but we need targeted support so young people aren’t once again left behind while others are able to walk ahead.