Homelessness among young people remains an ongoing critical issue across the globe, despite numerous targeted policies attempting to address the issue. Research demonstrates that the way policies represent social problems influences policy solutions. Drawing on Australian policy, this research investigates how policy discourses construct homeless young people, and how these constructions influence the support services developed. The study involves a critical discourse analysis of Australia’s most recent national inquiry report on homelessness among young people. The analysis suggests that the values and assumptions present throughout this policy largely reflect neoliberal political contexts, emphasising the importance of individual and community responsibility. However, there exists a disconnect between policy expectations of young people’s autonomy and the construction of their capacity for autonomy. This suggests that young people require greater levels of participation in policy development to create an effective balance between their own need for self-determinism and the support they require to transition out of homelessness.
SOURCE: Ella Kuskoff, “The importance of discourse in homelessness policy for young people: an Australian perspective”, Journal of Youth Studies, Published online 22 Sep 2017
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