Youth Homelessness Matters Day is the third Wednesday in April each year.
Youth Homelessness Matters Day (YHMD) has been an exciting campaign since its inception in 1990. Started by a group of social advocates who believed too many young people were moving out of home with nowhere to go, YHMD was supported by the National Youth Coalition for Housing (NYCH) until 2021 when the NYCH disbanded and handed the campaign to Yfoundations.
Youth Homelessness Matters Day aims to raise awareness and public discussion about youth homelessness so that we can develop sustainable and innovative solutions for supporting the needs of young people experiencing homelessness and supporting their dreams.
Over the years, YHMD has grown into a national celebration of young people’s resilience.
For us, Youth Homelessness Matters Day started because of young people like Trent.
Trent has Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD) and anxiety issues. He did not want to drag his two-year-old brother, nine-year-old sister and grandmother down, so he decided to run away. At first, Trent did not want to ask for help because he was told that refuges were not great. When he finally decided to call a service, they did not have a bed for him. A week later he was given a spot and he loved the place. ‘Even nicer than most colleges and everyone is so nice!’ he said. Trent was able to get support for his mental health issues and feels much better now.
Youth homelessness is something that affects most people, whether it’s a parent who lets their child’s friend crash on the couch for a couple nights or an aunt who hears of her niece being kicked out. Yet many people don’t know the impact this has on our young people or what to do to help.
We do this work for people like Trent, who was one of the lucky ones. We see his story as a good story. For many others, the school counsellor doesn’t know what to do or doesn’t have the capacity to help. Often there are no vacancies at youth accommodation services and young people have to move far away from their childhood town. Others hear rumours about ‘youth refuges’ and are scared they will just end up becoming a 'good-for-nothing', 'bad' kid.
The Youth Homelessness Matters Day (YHMD) campaign aims to address these issues.
We’ll probably never live in a society where no young person has to leave home early (although that would be nice) and we know that family breakdown is sometimes inevitable. However, young people shouldn't have to face homelessness when their home life doesn’t work out. They shouldn’t be faced with a life of disadvantage just because they were dealt a bad hand and born to troubled parents or a broken family.
We look forward to creating brighter futures for young people who have faced homelessness and showing them they have the power and opportunity to become whatever they put their mind to.