Sign Our Petition

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Petition to: The Hon. Amanda Rishworth MP, Minister for Social Services, and The Hon. Julie Collins MP, Minister for Homelessness

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To develop a standalone national strategy to end child and youth homelessness


Why this petition matters

Homelessness continues to worsen for children and young people in Australia and there is no overarching strategy to tackle this impending crisis coming our way.

We need to ensure that our children and young people are safe, supported and given every opportunity to thrive. Ending child and youth homelessness will only be a reality if a clear, targeted and developmentally appropriate standalone Child and Youth Homelessness and Housing Strategy is created.

The Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) 2016 Census data showed a 26% increase in homelessness over a 10-year period for 12 to 24-year-olds. This number is estimated to increase in the 2021 Census data following the COVID-19 pandemic, natural disasters, and cost of living pressures. The most recent Specialist Homelessness Services (SHS) data indicates that almost 40,000 children and young people aged 15 to 24 years presented alone to an SHS in 2021–22, representing the third largest client group. We are also seeing children as young as 12 years old coming into youth homelessness services on their own.

Children and young people experience multiple pathways into homelessness and the breadth of their issues and vulnerabilities are complex and distinct from those of adults. They also experience some of the most insidious, hidden, and dangerous forms of homelessness. Almost one-third of young people presenting alone to a homelessness service were couch surfing at the start of their support. Couch surfing leaves young people vulnerable to servitude, exploitation and abuse. Moreover, around a third of young people presenting alone have experienced domestic and family violence, and many are experiencing it in their own intimate relationships. They are turning up to youth homelessness services when they have no safe accommodation but are often being turned away because these services are at capacity.

We must act now to ensure there are safe and supported options for children and young people before they face dire and dangerous situations. We are calling on the Australian Government to ensure there is a standalone Child and Youth Homelessness and Housing Strategy.

Children and young people do not have the same coping strategies and resources generally attributed to adults and thus require a range of accommodation and support models depending on their age and development, independence and presenting issues. This includes specialist youth crisis accommodation, transitional accommodation, medium-term accommodation, specialist domestic, family, and sexual violence (DFSV) support and accommodation, family reunification services, Youth Foyers, youth social housing and affordable private rentals. Currently, there is a serious lack of options across their continuum of need.

Yfoundations has reviewed current state homelessness and housing strategies and identified that actions relating to children and young people were largely in the context of early intervention, Youth Foyers and supporting young people leaving out of home care (OOHC). While these are important commitments, they only scratch the surface to respond to the breadth of issues and vulnerabilities of children and young people at risk of or experiencing homelessness, particularly those facing it on their own.

The private and social housing market fails to help young people. Private rentals are unaffordable, inaccessible, and unattainable. Anglicare’s 2022 Rental Snapshot shows there was only ONE rental property in all of Australia for someone on the youth allowance payment. Young people also face barriers obtaining a social housing property due to long wait times and a lack of policy requiring housing providers to quarantine a percentage of their portfolio for this cohort. Combined with woefully low income support, young people are now facing homelessness and a future of trauma and vulnerability which we have the opportunity to change now if the Australian Government commits to a standalone National Child and Youth Homelessness and Housing Strategy.

It will take a whole of government and community approach to end child and youth homelessness in Australia. This is why we are calling on YOU to sign the petition. Demand that the Australian Government agrees to develop a National Child and Youth Homelessness and Housing Strategy today and be a part of the change.

For more detail on child and youth homelessness and the case for a national strategy, read our recent article in Parity magazine here.

Showing 178 reactions

  • Toni Ottavio
    signed 2023-09-18 17:19:30 +1000
  • Charlotte Mansfield
    signed 2023-09-18 10:50:44 +1000
  • Nicole Fairley
    signed 2023-09-14 09:48:53 +1000
    Young people who are at risk or are experiencing homelessness need a range of options that can effectively assist diverse and complex needs. The SHS needs effective and better resourcing for early intervention as well as supports appropriate assisting the needs of young people in the SHS system and affordable housing options to move on to.
  • Greg Simmons
    signed 2023-09-12 09:48:03 +1000
  • Corrie Williams
    signed 2023-08-30 13:20:13 +1000
    I have been a homeless young person and have worked with homeless young people. It is imperative that we consider the unique needs of children and young people, their family circumstances, community, culture, and potential. Child and youth homelessness is evidence that the system is failing.
  • Eamon Daly
    signed 2023-08-29 12:46:38 +1000
  • John Avery
    signed 2023-08-27 15:17:34 +1000
  • Gabrielle Avery
    signed 2023-08-25 20:35:30 +1000
    Youth homelessness is a disgrace for a wealthy country like ours and an establishing and implementing a stand-alone strategy to deal with it is essential.
  • Janelle Thomson
    signed 2023-08-23 11:22:09 +1000
  • Tony Batterham
    signed 2023-08-21 10:44:52 +1000
  • Emma Ginn
    signed 2023-08-21 09:45:30 +1000
    Every child and young person should be able to access and have safe accommodation, food and clothing. Young people are one of the most vulnerable groups in our society and homelessness leads to further trauma and abuse for young people. They are our future, we should be investing in them and taking the utmost care of them.
  • Sarah Luff
    signed 2023-08-20 22:36:52 +1000
  • Mark Ott
    signed 2023-08-18 10:01:28 +1000
  • Juliette Kratochvil
    signed 2023-08-18 08:47:30 +1000
  • Pamela Hagopian
    signed 2023-08-17 18:00:27 +1000
    Basic right of every human to have a safe roof over their heads
  • Marissa Bishop
    signed 2023-08-17 17:45:58 +1000
  • Renee Wirth
    signed 2023-08-17 16:38:10 +1000
  • Jan Mills
    signed 2023-08-17 15:45:45 +1000
  • Anne Mitchell
    signed 2023-08-17 15:13:08 +1000
    I work with young people experiencing homelessness and agree they need different solutions to older people.
  • Julia Nguyen
    signed 2023-08-16 18:13:10 +1000
    There is not enough housing available to young people who are facing homelessness.

    They are disadvantaged due to low income and lack of rental history.
  • Siobhan Bloom
    signed via 2023-08-16 11:13:23 +1000
  • Melanie Green
    signed 2023-08-14 21:34:23 +1000
  • Cathy Aston
    signed 2023-08-14 19:39:47 +1000
    It is heartbreaking and shameful that a wealthy country such as Australia neglects to support its most vulnerable young people.
  • Justine Clarke
    signed 2023-08-14 04:57:17 +1000
  • julie tattam
    signed 2023-08-13 22:50:40 +1000
    Because I fully appreciate that a large number of the issues surrounding youth homelessness are distinct and unique to this age group, and therefore must be considered and managed separately from other age groups experiencing homelessness.
  • Michael Laing
    signed 2023-08-13 16:57:46 +1000
    Priority need for child and youth homelessness strategy from Federal government
  • Kim Robinson
    signed 2023-08-11 16:07:58 +1000
    the pandemic exacerbated the housing crisis, especially for young people. Youth at-risk homelessness and homelessness is rising due to the higher cost of living. Don’t ignore the needs of the current cohort that is the future of this country.
  • Chris Brooke
    signed 2023-08-11 13:33:23 +1000
  • Helen O’Loughlin
    signed 2023-08-11 12:33:56 +1000
    Preventative and systems design to manage youth homelessness needs to be tailored to reflect their circumstances, capacity and resources to be effective.
  • Melanie Walshe
    signed 2023-08-11 12:02:47 +1000
    Having access to safe and secure housing is one of the most basic human rights, our young people need our support. A stand alone strategy will provide more housing and support for all young people, and hopefully reach regional areas as well.