Young people need stable, secure and affordable housing to live healthy and connected lives, and to engage effectively in education and employment.

–Katherine Ellis

MEDIA STATEMENT

Youth Affairs Council Victoria (YACVic) and the Victorian youth sector welcome the Victorian Government’s announcement that $50 million from the Big Housing Build will be set aside for new housing projects for young people. This is a significant win for young people and is a big step towards ending youth homelessness in Victoria. The dedicated funding will help address young people’s historical exclusion from social housing.

Despite young people comprising 54% of all single people who seek homelessness services, currently young people only make up 2.9% of social housing tenants. Young people who apply for social housing are forced to wait up to seven years for a home, by which time they will have experienced nearly a decade of insecurity. Young people’s lower income support payments often make them unviable tenants for community housing providers who are under pressure to be financially sustainable.

Last month, an alliance of Victoria’s major youth-focused housing services, convened by YACVic, called on the Victorian Government to carve out a proportion of all new social housing stock for young people. The alliance comprises Melbourne City Mission (MCM), Salvation Army, Hope Street, Anglicare Victoria, Youth Support and Advocacy Service (YSAS) and Barwon Child, Youth and Family Services. We are very pleased, for the sake of young people, that the Victorian Government has heard our call.

By including young people in social housing, the Victorian Government has seized the opportunity to transform the lives and futures of young people experiencing or at-risk of homelessness. YACVic welcomes the Government’s commitment that new housing will be within walking distance of education, employment, public transport, retail and community services, and will feature energy efficient design.

YACVic, coalition members and the Victorian youth sector look forward to working with the Victorian Government to ensure that young people have access to wraparound, trauma-informed and ongoing support while in social housing. We also look forward to ongoing investment from the Victorian Government in social housing for young people.

YACVic encourages youth-focused organisations to apply for funding at: https://www.tenders.vic.gov.au/tender/view?id=236056

Quotes attributable to Katherine Ellis, YACVic CEO

‘We welcome Minister Wynne’s announcement of dedicated funding for youth housing.  Social housing specifically designed and available for young people will be a big step towards ending youth homelessness’

‘Young people need stable, secure and affordable housing to live healthy and connected lives, and to engage effectively in education and employment.’

‘$50 million is a significant investment and we hope this is the beginning of ongoing and stronger investment in social housing for young people.’

Quotes attributable to Vicki Sutton, MCM CEO

‘Today’s announcement is a welcome investment, recognising a young person’s housing needs are distinct from adults.

‘While it is great to see the investment in existing housing models for young people who are education and employment ready, we are also pleased there is funding to create new models of housing for young people overcoming trauma, and who require further support to transition to independence.’

Quotes attributable to Andrew Bruun, YSAS CEO

‘We commend the Andrews Labor Government for their commitment to reducing youth homelessness.’

‘YSAS works across the state of Victoria to support young disadvantaged young people who face serious challenges to accessing secure housing.’

‘Young people are often uprooted from their local community to seek urgent shelter and lose important relationships and connections to the places they learn or work. By investing in youth-specific housing where it’s needed most, and close to places for further education or vocation, we’re setting young Victorians on the right path to lead healthy and fulfilling lives.’

Quotes attributable to Dr Lucia Boxelaar, Brotherhood of St Laurence Acting Executive Director

‘We welcome this much needed investment in housing for young people experiencing or at risk of homelessness. Youth Foyers are a critical part of a youth homelessness response and one we know works. Our comprehensive longitudinal evaluation of Education First Youth Foyers found that the model had a transformative effect on young people who were involved, with 85 percent of participants either working or studying a year after leaving the foyer. This program works and we welcome its expansion.

----  END RELEASE  ----

Media contact:

Thomas Feng, YACVic Media and Communications Manager, tfeng@yacvic.org.au for interviews with YACVic

About Youth Affairs Council Victoria (YACVic)

Youth Affairs Council Victoria (YACVic) is the peak body and leading advocate for young people aged 12–25 and the youth sector in Victoria. Established in 1960, YACVic advocates for the rights of young people in Victoria to ensure they are active, visible and valued in their communities.

Image Credit: Education First Youth Foyer Housing in Broadmeadows, Launch Housing