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The Social Housing Regulation Review is an opportunity to better support young people experiencing homelessness
The current social housing system in Victoria dramatically fails young people. Young people are systematically excluded from social housing despite many desperately needing the long-term safety and security that social housing provides. Regulatory reform will help more young people get access to housing support, and make life easier for young people in social housing. Substantial positive change requires broader action which can be enabled by regulatory settings.
Youth Affairs Council Victoria, the peak body and leading policy advocate for young people and the youth sector, welcomes the Social Housing Regulations Review and urges that the Review considers how the regulations can better support young people, including by ensuring more young people can access social housing.
By addressing barriers to young people’s access to social housing, meaningfully involving young people in co-design of social housing systems and policies, and embedding youth work practice in the social housing workforce, social housing regulation can contribute to ending youth homelessness.
Advocate to Homes Victoria to design and resource a plan to increase the number of young people accessing social housing including through targeted and sustained investment in social housing specifically for young people.
Ensure new social housing regulation supports growth of both public and community housing to shorten the waitlist.
Systematically collect data on young people who start applications for social housing but do not complete them and young people who are being supported by homelessness services who would benefit from access to social housing to inform social housing regulation and policy.
Apply social housing regulations consistently across Victoria while allowing sufficient flexibility and additional resourcing for rural and regional housing providers to address locally-specific challenges and strengths to deliver consistent tenant outcomes.
Include rent settings within the review of the regulations.
Address rent settings as a barrier to young people being housed in social housing through advocating for both of the following initiatives:
- The Victorian Government to provide targeted financial support and incentives to social housing providers to house young people
- The Federal Government to increase income support payments to young people
Embed and resource youth participation models and principles throughout the design, delivery, governance, monitoring and evaluation of Social Housing Regulation reform.
Include the concept of social tenants in the review, with special reference to the experiences of young people experiencing housing stress or homelessness, but only apply social housing regulations to social housing.
Implement strong protections for young people at risk of or experiencing homelessness through mechanisms like Consumer Affairs Victoria and VCAT.
Proudly identify the intersection of the social housing workforce and the youth workforce.
Mandate training for the social housing workforce on The Code of Ethical Practice for the Victorian Youth Sector and Youth Participation and resource community housing providers to embed and resource ethical practice and youth participation.
Create identified positions within the social housing workforce for workers with lived experience of social housing or youth homelessness. Create cadetships or traineeships to support people with lived experience to gain appropriate qualifications and enter the social housing workforce.
Mandate the social housing workforce to complete community-led training on:
- Disability awareness and inclusion
- LGBTIQA+ awareness and inclusion
- Working respectfully across cultures
- First Nations cultural safety including self-determination
- Family violence training
- Trauma-informed practice
- Mental Health First Aid
Identify young tenants as a priority cohort in social housing regulation to ensure they have equitable access to social housing.
Develop categories for priority access that represent the unique experiences of young people.
Develop case studies of young people who qualify for priority access to support young people and workers to navigate the social housing application process.
Strengthen allocation processes to improve inclusion of people traditionally excluded from social housing including young people.
- Read more from YACVic about social housing for young people in Parity
- What it takes to build social housing for young people
- Young people call on Government to commit to ending youth homelessness
- Inquiry into Homelessness Hears Young People Loud and Clear
- What New Renting Rules Mean for Young People
- Huge social housing blitz must consider young people’s unique needs
Author: Sebastian Antoine, Policy & Research Officer