The National Housing and Homelessness Plan (the Plan) is an opportunity to develop targeted strategies and resources to end youth homelessness in Australia and address housing insecurity early and effectively. The Plan will be a 10-year strategy designed by the Australian government in partnership with state and territory governments, and will support the design of short, medium and long-term housing and homelessness policy reform in Australia.  

Australia’s young people are overrepresented in rates of homelessness; nationally one in every four people experiencing homelessness is under the age of 25.1 These numbers will continue to grow due to rental vacancy being at a national record low of 1.1%,resulting in private rentals becoming more inaccessible to young people than ever.2 The Plan must include targeted early intervention strategies for young people which focuses on their mental health and wellbeing and addresses their housing insecurity needs, with the aim of supporting young people into safe, stable housing.  

YACVic’s submission recommends a National Youth Housing and Homelessness Standalone Plan, co-designed with young people who are the experts of their own experiences, to develop early intervention and housing solutions.


A National Youth Housing and Homelessness Plan

Recommendation 1: Develop a National Youth Housing and Homelessness Standalone Plan.    

We recommend the establishment of a National Youth Housing and Homelessness Plan specifically tailored to address the unique needs and challenges faced by young people (age 12-25) at risk of or experiencing homelessness. This dedicated plan will allow for targeted strategies and resources to end youth homelessness and address housing insecurity early and effectively, with built in strategies to empower young people with the skills they need to transition to adulthood.    

Recommendation 2: Co-design the National Housing and Homelessness Plan with young people. 

To ensure that the National Housing and Homelessness Plan truly reflects the needs of and empowers young people, they must be involved in co-design processes. Engaging young people in decision-making will lead to more inclusive and effective policies that consider their lived experiences.3   

Investing in Early Intervention and Prevention

Recommendation 3: Invest in place-based prevention and early intervention initiatives, providing targeted support for priority cohorts.4 

Prevention and early intervention into youth homelessness will require systems change approach, connecting family, education, employment, and community sectors to address the needs of a young person in housing crisis before they experience homelessness. These initiatives should be person-centred, trauma-informed, and multi-disciplinary approach, with a focus on the mental health and wellbeing of the young person. We advocate for dedicated funding for prevention and early intervention services, including support for young people to maintain tenancies and prevent eviction. By addressing issues before they escalate, we can keep more young people stably housed and prevent the trauma of experiencing homelessness.   

Recommendation 4: Provide trauma-informed, LGBTQI+ inclusive, and cultural safety training for employees in mainstream services.     

To identify signs of housing insecurity before young people experience homelessness, we recommend introducing trauma-informed training programs for employees in mainstream services such as health, employment, education, and training services. Training should address the mental health and wellbeing of young people, providing tailored and strengths-based support so the young person can stay housed and engaged with education or employment. A trauma-informed approach will ensure young people have safe networks to access for support, without facing stigma or discrimination. 

A Housing Framework for Young People

Recommendation 5: Build dedicated social housing stocks for young people.

We propose the dedication of social housing stock to young people, in areas which are geographically accessible for transport and education and employment opportunities. This measure will provide stability for young people at risk of or experiencing homelessness and must provide wrap-around service support which are decided by the young person’s requirements.

Recommendation 6: Implement and enforce minimum standards in new social housing and upgrade existing social housing, particularly to combat the ongoing impact of climate change.     

All housing should be designed to be accessible for all young people, including disabled young people, and minimum standards for safe housing must be enforced. In response to the growing impact of climate change, we recommend that all new social housing stock be designed with energy efficiency in mind. This will reduce environmental impact but lower utility costs for residents, making housing more affordable.   

Recommendation 7: Increase the rate of Commonwealth Rent Assistance, in line with the Economic Inclusion Advisory Committee’s recommendation.5 

In line with the Economic Inclusion Advisory Committee's recommendation, we propose increasing the rate of the Commonwealth Rent Assistance. This adjustment will alleviate the financial burden on young people, making private rental housing more accessible.   

Recommendation 8: Improve access to affordable housing and private rentals for young people.   

Introduce and enforce anti-discriminatory practices in the rental sector, including training for real estate agents and in social housing. Prepare and support young people to live independently, and access more rental support systems.  

Services and Support

Recommendation 9: Provide wrap-around support for young people in social housing, dependent on their needs not their tenancy.  

To ensure young people are not caught in cycles of homelessness we recommend services provide support to young people which meet their needs, rather than discontinuing services based on length of time.  This will ensure young people are supported into stable housing situations and empower them to engage with employment and education opportunities. Support services must be attached to the young person, not their tenancy, to allow for consistent support regardless of change in tenancy arrangements.  

Recommendation 10: Create a cohesive system between mainstream and specialist homelessness services to streamline referral pathways and provide more holistic service support.  

Create a more cohesive system between mainstream and specialist homelessness services. Streamlining referral pathways and providing holistic wellbeing support will ensure young people receive the assistance they need.  This holistic approach will mean young people have access to support in all areas of their life, not just housing.  

Recommendation 11: Improve data collection and reporting mechanisms for social housing and specialist homelessness services.  

Enhancing data collection and reporting mechanisms for specialist homelessness services and social housing will provide more accurate insight into the unmet demand for social housing, and assist in developing support strategies for young people on waitlists. This will provide a more accurate understanding of young people at risk of or experiencing homelessness and their support needs, enabling targeted interventions.   

Recommendation 12: Invest in service information programs for young people. 

To empower young people with knowledge of available services we recommend investing in information programs or campaigns including outreach programs, to inform young people on where they can find support. These programs should be designed to meet the unique needs of young people, be delivered through relevant and credible platforms, and foster trust, accessibility, and cultural safety.   


  1. Australian Bureau of Statistics. Estimating Homelessness: Census. ABS; 2023. Available from:
  2. Creagh E. The latest data shows the rental crisis is worsening with no end in sight. PropTrack; 2023.Available from: The latest data shows the rental crisis is worsening with no end in sight - PropTrack

  3. Department of Families, Fairness and Housing. Our Promise, Your Future: Victoria’s Youth Strategy 2022-2027. Victoria (Australia). Victoria State Government; 2022. 

  4. Mackenzie B. Interim Report: The Geelong Project 2016-2017. Victoria (Australia). Barwon Child, Youth and Family; 2018. 

  5. Interim Economic Inclusion Advisory Committee. 2023-24 Report to the Australian Government. Commonwealth of Australia; 2023.