Council to Homeless Persons has welcomed the Victorian Government’s $50 million investment to grow youth housing as a positive step, but more is needed to address a broader crisis.
Housing Minister Colin Brooks on Monday released the details of grants that will deliver accommodation options for around 130 young people, including youth foyers that integrate housing with education, employment and support services, and youth accommodation focused on young Victorians leaving out of home care.
The funding is from the Government’s $5.3 billion Big Housing Build commitment, which is due to end mid-next year.
In 2020–21, more than 8,800 young people sought medium or long-term housing, but only 24 per cent were provided with a home. A further 19 per cent were referred to housing providers, with no guarantee that suitable accommodation would be available.
Just 541 transitional and 66 long term properties in Victoria are designated for young people, and young people were allocated only 238 public housing tenancies in 2021.
In 2022, a study of all advertised rental property in Australia found that only one property – a sharehouse – was affordable to a young person on youth allowance.
Council To Homeless Persons Chair Jane Barnes said:
“These projects are a step in the right direction. They will deliver crucial accommodation and support that will help young Victorians, particularly in key regional communities.
“But the scale of the housing crisis facing young people demands a much greater response.
“Young people have lower incomes and more face discrimination in the rental market than adults older than 25 years.
“Family violence and breakdown, neglect, or abuse are among major causes of young people leaving home. They need stable, affordable housing and these traumatic experiences often need targeted support to ensure young people can thrive without their parents’ support.
“Too many young people are prevented from reaching their full potential because Victoria doesn’t have sufficient resourcing or a joined-up system to prevent and respond to youth homelessness
“The Victorian Government should deliver 5,000 social housing properties for young people over the next four years
“It’s also essential we see a major boost to youth-specific specialist support programs that help people stay in housing and help with mental health, employment and education.”