Youth Homelessness Matters Day on April 19

Written byChristine Tondorf
Published on19 Apr, 2023
Image Of Teenage Boy / Youth Wearing Hoodie, Beside Graffiti Wall

Youth Homelessness Matters Day is on Wednesday, 19 April. Youth Homelessness Matters Day (YHMD) is a national day that was conceived in 1990 to raise awareness and public discussion about child and youth homelessness.

Social Futures supports hundreds of young people in the Northern Rivers, who are either homeless or at risk of homelessness.

CEO Tony Davies spoke to ABC journalist Bridie Tanner about why youth become homeless and the need for a standalone National Child and Youth Homelessness and Housing Strategy.

Youth become homeless for a variety of reasons, family breakdown is often a factor. Nationally around a third of young people presenting alone have experienced domestic and family violence. Inter-generational poverty and neglect also lead to young people becoming homeless

Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) 2016 Census data showed a 26% increase in homelessness over a 10-year period for 12 to 24-year-olds. Nationally that’s almost 40,000 children and young people aged 15 to 24 years – the third largest group of homeless.

Nationally almost one-third of homeless young people were couch surfing. Couch surfing leaves young people vulnerable to exploitation and abuse.Children and young people do not have the same coping strategies and resources as adults. Young people need a range of accommodation and support models that are age appropriate. This includes specialist youth crisis accommodation and transitional accommodation.

Yfoundations is the peak NSW body advocating for young people at risk of and experiencing homelessness. It says the current models for young homeless people – early intervention, Youth Foyers (integrated learning and accommodation settings for young people) and supported out of home living – just don’t go far enough to address this growing problem and a standalone National Child and Youth Homelessness and Housing Strategy is needed with many more age and developmentally appropriate options and supports.