Opening doors for ACT’s homeless youth

Jul 26, 2019

In May we touched upon the growing issue of homelessness in Australia, with an astounding 116,000 people sleeping without a roof over their head each night. Closer to home in the ACT, this issue is not only growing, but becoming more prevalent for vulnerable youths, as they’re turned away from homeless shelters as a result of being deemed “too young”. Having to opt for insecure couch-surfing or having to return to unsafe living situations, in order to get a simple night’s sleep.

At Conflict Resolution Service we are committed to ensuring doors are opened and stay open for these assailable teens. Whether that be rebuilding family relationships and stable home-lives to return to, or opening doors in a more worldly sense – in ensuring that Canberra’s young people are able to achieve their long-term goals, without being hindered by short-term worries about where they’ll be sleeping night-to-night.

Youth Homelessness Prevention week is almost upon us (4th -10th). This week post-marks a key opportunity to reflect upon what can be immediately done, to help improve the current youth homelessness situation in Canberra.

 

Family is at the heart of all homes

Often when it comes to analysing the reason for youth homelessness both in Canberra and more broadly, there’s a misconception that young people become homeless by choice. The primary risk factor leading to child and youth homeliness is family conflict and breakdown. In simple terms, homelessness is not just about having a roof over your head, it’s about having a safe and secure place to comfortably call “home”.

While the youth homelessness cycle is a complex and multi-leveled issue that varies from person-to-person, it is by no means an unsolvable problem. Early intervention if possible, is the best first step towards interrupting this cycle and helping to maintain these young people’s connection to their home, family and important support networks.

 

Our Family Support Program

At CRS we are passionate about changing the trajectory of youth homelessness in Canberra through our Family Support Program. This program aims to support adolescents who are experiencing homelessness, or at risk of becoming homeless due to family conflict.

Taking an evidence-based, family-inclusive approach to mediation, facilitated conversations and relationship coaching, we deliver a program that includes the whole family and not just one young person. It is our hope, that through providing this service we can play a vital role in offering support to those who need it. While reciprocally bringing positive change to the lives of our younger community members and importantly curbing the disconcerting level of youth homelessness for those living in Canberra, on a much broader scale.

 

Contribute to change

To ensure you make your mark this Youth Homelessness Prevention Week and beyond, consider taking part in any or all, of the following:

  1. Refer a young person in need: When it comes to helping a young person or family who you believe that may need assistance, actions speak louder than concerns. You can discretely notify us of your worries by filling out a simple online referral form and we can step in and help. All inquiries are treated with the utmost respect and confidentiality.
  2. Make youths on the street, the word on the street: As with many community-related issues, awareness, and strengthened understanding can be a huge help in changing the negative trajectory of the matter itself. By helping those around you understand why and how this is happening in Canberra right now, we may be able to significantly strengthen levels of recognition, intervention and early prevention on a local-scale. This will continually only help improve the lives of young people in the ACT, while also more broadly helping us achieve a vision of a restorative Canberra built on relationships that positively transform conflict.
  3. Make a donation: Help us continue helping young people and families in need. Making a contribution to CRS, no matter the size can play a critical part in building the $5000 that it takes to support one important Canberran family, for an entire year.
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