‘Hide and Seek – the hidden nature of youth homelessness’ – On any given night in Australia 105,000 people are homeless and nearly half of these are under the age of 25.
Youth homelessness is a significant issue in the Albury Wodonga area, despite being more ‘hidden’ than in the capital cities. Young people are often ‘couch surfing’; staying with extended family and friends, or in emergency housing such as refuges. It is difficult to get accurate figures on youth homelessness as many are transient or living in insecure, inadequate or unsafe housing. Young people aged 16-24 years are more vulnerable to homelessness and make up the majority of our clients within the YES Supported Accommodation Services.
Research has identified that if young people are not properly supported when they first experience homelessness, they have a higher chance of becoming homeless in their adult lives. For this reason Youth Homelessness Matters Day seeks to highlight that homeless young people are often not the stereotypical street person and need appropriate support to reach their full potential as active, productive community citizens. Alarmingly, only 17% of people experiencing homelessness access support services.
For young people homelessness is tied in with family breakdown, developmental issues, independent living skills, access to the private rental market and eligibility for independent rates of Youth Allowance.
Youth Homelessness Matters Day is a national campaign which aims to raise public awareness and the public visibility of youth homelessness. The campaign is an initiative of the National Youth Coalition for Housing (NYCH), the national body for the State and Territory youth homeless peaks and networks.
The aim of Youth Homelessness Matters Day is to raise public awareness about youth homelessness and to celebrate the resilience of young people who are experiencing homelessness in Australia.
The theme for the 2011 Youth Homelessness Matters Day “Hide and Seek – the hidden nature of homelessness” reflects the fact that many young people who are homeless are couch surfing in the homes of friends and family. In fact, only a small proportion of young people who are homeless are sleeping rough.
YES YOUTH HOMELESSNESS MATTERS DAY CAMPAIGN 2011
The two hundred or so large, cardboard cut-outs of people (representing the number of referrals we receive each year, and colourfully decorated by local high school students and young patrons of the Youth Café and The Place drop in centre) provided great visual impact in QEII Square. Many of these donned brief case studies of young people who have used our services and portrayed powerful messages. Activities this year included performances by local artists, drumming workshops, a sausage sizzle, a petition and postcards that were able to be written on and will be sent to our local member Greg Aplin. Greg attended on the day along with Albury City Counsellor, Bob Angus (representing Mayor Alice Glachen who was unable to attend).
For further info about youth homelessness see: