Vulnerable young adults leaving out-of-home care (OOHC) will be helped into stable housing and receive education, training and jobs support under a major Budget funding boost aimed at preventing youth homelessness.
The new $10 million funding in 2016-17 ($40 million over four years) is in addition to the $55 million that will be spent each year on more than 100 specialist homelessness programs for young people through to June 2020.
“Most young people nearing adulthood have safe homes and secure families that help them to transition to independence and adult life,” said Premier Mike Baird.
“But for those who don’t, the trauma and disadvantage of becoming homeless at an early age can have devastating consequences throughout their lives.”
Minister for Family and Community Services Brad Hazzard said it was concerning that young adults aged 19-24 have the highest rate of homelessness and that almost one in four people accessing specialist homelessness services in NSW was a young person.
“The NSW Government recognises that this is a serious issue and that is why it is so critical that we do what we can to prevent vulnerable youth from ending up on the streets,” he said.
“For vulnerable young people, the value of having secure housing and support cannot be measured.”
Treasurer Gladys Berejiklian said the funding would help break the cycle of disadvantage.
“Where we can, we want to plan ahead of time, so that young adults leaving care don’t fall into homelessness,” she said
“Our Budget is in a strong position and that means we can do more to help those in our community who need it most.”
More than 90 per cent of young people who enter homelessness services have witnessed violence in their home, 60 per cent have been in out-of-home care and more than 50 per cent have been diagnosed with a mental health condition.
The new funding package involves:
- Access to additional housing through strategies such as:
- more transitional housing properties linked to specialist homelessness or other support providers
- expanding private rental subsidies and accommodation as well as mentor support to vulnerable young people enabling them to access education and training and transition to jobs and independent living.
- Working with young people in OOHC residential homes, with housing interventions and support services for those at risk of homelessness.
- Working with OOHC providers to ensure housing is prioritised in young people’s leaving care plans.