YACVic looks forward to working with Homes Victoria so young people have a seat at the table of new social housing initiatives

Over 6,000 young people experience homelessness on any given night in Victoria. They are couch surfing, bouncing between short term rentals, renting overcrowded or unsafe properties, sleeping in their car or sleeping on the street. Young people are nearly twice as likely to experience homelessness as people of other age groups. Despite making up only 16 per cent of the Victorian population, young people represent 26 per cent of people experiencing homelessness. Young people are nearly twice as likely to experience homelessness than people of other age groups. 

The real cause of youth homelessness is an acute lack of affordable housing for young people in both the private rental market and the social housing system. 

YACVic welcomes the Victorian Government’s commitment to social housing through the Big Housing Build and the 10-Year Social and Affordable Housing Strategy. Together, these initiatives can effectively address Victoria’s youth homelessness crisis. YACVic welcomes the establishment of Homes Victoria to lead the growth and management of social housing in Victoria. 

In our submission to the development of the new Strategy, we conveyed young people’s recommendations for social housing that works for them. YACVic strongly urges that the 10-Year Strategy includes a meaningful focus on young people and commits to embedding youth participation in all processes. 

YACVic looks forward to working with Homes Victoria, the Victorian Government and, most importantly, young people, to ensure that Victoria’s social housing works for young people. 


Recommendation 1: 

Proudly identify young people as a priority cohort when designing and delivering social and affordable housing. Commit to removing existing barriers to young people accessing social and affordable housing. 

Recommendation 2: 

Meaningfully involve young people in the design, delivery, governance, monitoring, and evaluation of the Big Housing Build and the 10-Year Social and Affordable Housing Strategy through the following actions: 

  1. Support young people with diverse lived experience to be members of all reference groups and decision-making bodies, equally alongside other stakeholders 
  2. Establish a specific youth reference group, made up of young people with diverse lived experience, to provide advice to Homes Victoria, the Minister for Housing, other consultative groups, builders, architects and other stakeholders. 

Recommendation 3: 

Set a target for ongoing growth of social and affordable housing to meet demand and end the waitlist. Build at least 6,000 properties per year for at least the next 10 years. 

Recommendation 4: 

Implement young people’s existing recommendations on the most important features of social and affordable housing, including, but not limited to: 

  1. near public transport 
  2. near education options (high schools, alternative high schools, TAFEs, universities) 

  3. with access to green open spaces 

  4. with access to workplaces, including workplaces with entry level positions 

  5. with access to communal areas and facilities like barbeques, parks and playgrounds 

  6. located in local communities throughout Victoria. 

Recommendation 5: 

Build housing with a diversity of configurations, including a substantial number of single bedroom properties, to enable single young people to access social housing. 

Recommendation 6: 

Deliver a diversity of homes through both public and community housing sectors that specifically meet the needs of young people who have experienced trauma, young people with complex needs and young people with behaviours of concern. Pair the provision of housing with the delivery of ongoing, long-term and targeted support. 

Recommendation 7: 

Ensure sources of evidence used to make decisions about type, location, volume and target cohorts for social housing effectively capture the data and experiences of young people.  

Recommendation 8: 

Review the community housing model to both: 

  1. incentivise community housing providers to lease to young people by subsidising rent payments of people on lower income support payments like Youth Allowance; and 
  2. allocate funding for community housing providers to build homes for young people, through either a specific funding round or quotas for young people in all initiatives. 

Recommendation 9: 

Establish a high-level housing forum through which relevant Ministers, departments, local governments, community housing providers, specialist homelessness services, community services organisations (youth, mental health, alcohol and other drug, family violence), tenant advocates, the private sector and, most importantly, young people with lived experience, work together to co-ordinate all responses to youth homelessness and identify methods of ongoing collaboration.  

Recommendation 10: 

Reduce the stigma of social and affordable housing and support thriving communities by: 

  1. Building or buying properties geographically dispersed throughout communities 

  2. Committing to ongoing maintenance of social housing properties 

  3. Working with local communities and local governments to deliver projects that respond to place and are enmeshed within communities. Support local governments to foster connections between housing providers, local services and local communities 

  4. Initiate and resource an awareness campaign, meaningfully involving people with lived experience, on the benefits of social and affordable housing for residents and communities. 

Recommendation 11: 

Mandate that at least 15 per cent of hours on all projects completed under the 10-Year Social and Affordable Housing Strategy are allocated to apprentices, trainees and cadets. This commitment should be separate from the welcome initiative of minimum hours for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people and women. 

Recommendation 12: 

Effectively enforce the Vacant Property Tax, and extend it to all Victorian local government areas, to incentivise availability of properties for the private rental market, and/or to raise revenue to fund more long-term growth of social and affordable housing. 

Recommendation 13: 

Incorporate an inclusionary zoning scheme which include specific targets for social and affordable homes for young people.  

Read more from YACVic about social housing for young people in Parity: https://chp.org.au/making-social-housing-work-for-young-people/ 

Sign the national petition from Everybody’s Home calling on the Federal Minister for Youth Alan Tudge to end youth homelessness: https://everybodyshome.com.au/yhmd/