The Youth Affairs Council Victoria today welcomed the Victorian Government’s commitment of $6 million to erect up to 120 backyard studios to house young people at risk of homelessness.

The studios, set up by Kids Under Cover, provide young people who can no longer stay in their family homes with an alternative space where they can live, study and stay connected to friends and family.

“Last census night, there were over 6,000 young people counted as homeless in Victoria,” commented YACVic CEO Georgie Ferrari. ‘And it’s widely acknowledged that the real figures are higher. In recent years, we’ve seen the homelessness rate growing faster among young people than in the general population. So it’s great to see innovative projects like this which house young people within their communities.”

YACVic also noted the Napthine Government’s recent commitment of $22.1 million for two new “youth foyers” to combat homelessness.

However, the youth peak body urged that far wider action was still needed to ensure affordable, safe housing for all Victorians.

“The Council to Homeless Persons has calculated that only 8 rental properties out of 100 in Melbourne would be affordable to someone on a low income,” said Ms Ferrari. “And we know that many agents and landlords are not keen to rent to young people. Meanwhile, there are 34,618 people on the waiting list for public housing in Victoria.”

YACVic supports calls by the Making Social Housing Work coalition for a 5% target for social housing in Victoria’s housing stock, and a minimum social housing component to be required of all new housing developments.

“When we surveyed the youth sector in 2013, crisis accommodation and transitional housing were identified as the most common areas of critical need,” said Ms Ferrari. “Widespread, systemic change is needed to make sure all young people have a place to call home.”

For further comment contact Georgie Ferrari on 0411 484 428.