EXECUTIVE SUMMARY – Key points
- Children and young people (aged 12–25 years) are one of the largest cohorts of users of homelessness services: in 2017–2018, there were 81,193 young parents and accompanying children (28%) and 43,200 young people presenting alone (16%).
- Children and young people, as well as ‘people exiting institutions and care into homelessness’ are priority cohorts under the National Housing and Homelessness Agreement (NAHA; 2018), and this is carried over into most of the state and territory strategies and plans.
- The redesign of the youth homelessness services system is best conceptualised at the community level, as the ‘system’ where interaction between young people and services—including schools—actually takes place
- Thinking about the ‘community as system’ means that small-area data analysis of need, trends and outcomes should be developed into community-level focussed planning of the ecosystem of supports required by vulnerable young people.
- There is a strong case in theory—and from practical experimentation—for adopting a system reform agenda that makes the shift from a program-oriented approach to a place-based cross-sectoral ‘collective impact’ framework for support and service delivery for at-risk and homeless young people.
- A systemic implementation of a place-based community approach to early intervention involving proactive identification of risk, a tiered practice framework, an extended workforce of youth and family workers, and school welfare/wellbeing staff working under a formal collaboration and within a strong
data-driven outcomes framework will begin to reduce the flow of young people into homelessness.
- A policy imperative is to fund the development of youth-specific social housing options that provide the appropriate levels of support that young people need, while scaling up rents over time as young people progress through education or training and gain access to employment.
- A systemic needs-based implementation of the Home Stretch agenda, which advocates the extension of support for all care-leavers until 21 years, would have a significant impact on a major stream of vulnerable youth becoming homeless.
SOURCE: MacKenzie, D., Hand, T., Zufferey, C., McNelis, S., Spinney, A. and Tedmanson, D. (2020)Redesign of a homelessness service system for young people, AHURI Final Report 327, Australian Housing and Urban Research Institute Limited, Melbourne, http://www.ahuri.edu.au/research/final-reports/327, doi: 10.18408/ahuri-5119101.
See also:An effective homelessness services system https://www.ahuri.edu.au/research/research-in-progress/ahuri-inquiries/an-effectivehomelessness-services-system
ACKNOWLEDGEMENT OF COUNTRY
The Brotherhood of St Laurence acknowledges and recognises the Traditional Owners of the land upon which we live and work, and we pay our respects to their Elders both past and present
Produced by the librarians at the Brotherhood of St Laurence in Melbourne, Australia