18 Apr

Queensland Youth Homelessness Matters Day

April 19 is Youth Homelessness Matters Day. For years, Anglicare Southern Queensland has advocated for and supported homeless youth in the communities we serve. Youth homelessness rates are continuing to rise, and increasing living costs are making it more difficult for people to find secure housing. 

In Australia, 42 per cent of homeless people are under the age of 25. The 2021 to 2022 AIHW Specialist homelessness services annual report identified that the leading causes of homelessness in young people were: 

  • The housing crisis – 19% 
  • Family and domestic violence – 16% 
  • Relationship and family breakdowns – 12%. 

Each year we receive hundreds of enquiries from young people who are experiencing (or are at risk of experiencing) homelessness and who need our help. However, the number of those experiencing homelessness outweighs the number of beds and support that is available. 

How we’re combatting youth homelessness 

Anglicare Southern Queensland offers initiatives designed to combat youth homelessness and help young people to live healthy and happy lives. The services we offer are designed to help young people from an early intervention level and prevent them from becoming homeless. For those experiencing homelessness, we provide crisis accommodation and short to long-term support.  

Our Youth Homelessness services staff support young people by working with them to improve their life skills and achieve their goals through a case-based process. Additionally, we work with young people to build meaningful connections with people and organisations to support their individual needs. 

Learn more about our Youth Homelessness services here. 

On April 17, 2023, we hosted a community event at our youth housing and homelessness service in Cleveland.

Supporting youth experiencing homelessness 

There are numerous things that you can do to support or raise awareness for young people experiencing homelessness.

Educating yourself and others 

Homelessness is plagued by many misconceptions. Those misconceptions can lead to negative views of those experiencing homelessness. Misconceptions include: 

  • All homeless people live on the streets. In reality, many are living in overcrowded homes, temporary accommodation, or are couch surfing. 
  • Young people become homeless because they choose to leave their family home. As explained, previously, a lot of young people become homeless due to issues like poverty, family breakdowns, unemployment, disabilities, and mental illness. 
  • All homeless people abuse drugs or alcohol. This is not the case at all. For those who do abuse drugs and alcohol, it’s important to understand that there are a range of complexities which may have led them to their addiction, and that it doesn’t mean they don’t deserve a home. 

By challenging your beliefs and encouraging others to do the same, you will develop a more accurate understanding of youth homelessness and how you can help combat it. Learn more about the facts surrounding youth homelessness here.  

Listen to people 

Even if you cannot solve all their problems, listening to people who are experiencing tough times shows them that you care. By genuinely listening with an open mind and heart, you can be truly empathetic to their situation and understand its complexity. 

Volunteer your time and donate 

If you live in a community that supports young people experiencing poverty and homelessness, you can volunteer at local shelters. Look for your local food pantry or homelessness shelters and ask them how you can help. In most cases, they are always looking for an extra set of hands to help people in need. 

Another way you can support young people experiencing homelessness or poverty is by donating hygiene products, clothing or money. There are many registered charities out there, including ours, who will be grateful for any extra support for our youth homelessness clients. Donate here. 

Become an advocate for change 

Get involved in supporting policies that help people in need. Advocacy provides vulnerable and disadvantaged people with greater opportunities to thrive. Use your voice and advocate for matters like livable wages, access to health care and affordable housing. 

Anglicare Southern Queensland is an advocate for rental and housing affordability. Learn more or get involved by heading over to our Affordable Housing webpage.