Every night in Australia, there are around 116,000 people who sleep without a roof over their head. That’s a disheartening 50 homeless persons for every 10,000 Australians. While these numbers may come as a shock to the average Australian, homelessness in the country has been a long-standing issue and is still a growing problem, with the ABS reporting a 4.6% increase in the rate of homelessness over the past 5 years.
While other states are beginning to lead the way in developing support systems for those experiencing homelessness, with a focus on helping youths who either are, or are at risk of, becoming homeless, the ACT is behind.
What does this mean for the homeless youth of the Canberra and what can we all do to help?
Young and homeless in the ACT
Youth homelessness is an undoubtedly complex issue that differs from individual to individual.
According to a recent study by the Australian Catholic University, Canberra youths often find themselves (or are at risk of) living on the streets. This comes as a result of living with violence or neglect at home, increasing family conflict or feeling isolated and misunderstood by peers and friends, among a multitude of other contributing factors.
The one thing each of these youths has in common is the simple fact that with younger age comes inevitably heightened vulnerability, especially when faced with the dangerous and unstable living environment that is homelessness. Although there are no concrete statistics available, the issue of at-risk and/or homeless young people is a significant problem within the ACT.
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. Our aim is to play a key role in diminishing the number of young Canberrans falling into homelessness.
What Can You Do?
If you know a young person who is experiencing similar circumstances, or a family who may need help in resolving a dispute or significant conflict, you can discretely notify us of your concerns via a simple online referral form. All enquiries remain confidential.
You can also make a donation to help us help them. It takes $5000 to support one family for an entire year. No matter how small or large your donation may be, each contribution plays a significant role in aiding young people and their families to get back on the right track and on the path to conflict resolution.
The Canberra Times recently published an article on the issue of youth homelessness in the ACT.