A national report on youth homelessness shows Australia’s governments are still failing young people living on the street.
The National Report Card on Youth Homelessness, to be delivered at a national conference on the issue in Melbourne on Monday, says crisis-focused systems aren’t working, with government action over the past 10 years earning “a C-minus at best .
Organisers say little progress has been made despite two landmark studies in 1989 and 2008, and the national homelessness conference – the first to focus solely solely on youth in 20 years – aims to develop a reform agenda to address the issue.
Professor David MacKenzie said despite “ad-hoc state and federal government initiatives in the past decade”, promises to invest in early intervention had been largely unfulfilled.
“As a result, the number of people experiencing homelessness, particularly young people, has increased disproportionately to population growth in the last 10 years,” he said.
“One in four Australians experiencing homelessness is a young person aged 12-24, which is widely acknowledged as an underestimate.”
During the two-day conference at Melbourne Town Hall, those attending will discuss policy reforms including early intervention, rapid rehousing, engagement in education and employment and the possibility of extending state care to 21 years of age.
Young homeless people will also speak about their experiences.
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