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Largest commitment to youth housing in memory, says Salvos specialist


Almost 40,000 children and young people have nowhere to live across this country each year. 
 BY ANTHONY CASTLE

 

Home Time is a coalition of community services, peak bodies, researchers, unions, young people and community members​.

 

In 2022, The Salvation Army Youth and Melbourne City Mission commissioned a series of workshops to analyse structural, policy and funding factors for young people trying to access housing, ​establishing the Victorian Housing Alliance. 

 

“The Salvos were a driving force of the advocacy leading to Home Time campaign’s inception, so we’re very excited about the announcement,” explains Rob Ellis, Senior Specialist of Youth Services.


Rob Ellis, Senior Specialist of Youth Services for The Salvation Army.

“There’s one billion dollars now going into youth housing. Our advocacy has always been to develop tenancies for young people, linked with support.” 

 

The Victorian Housing Alliance created a strong network of youth services and housing providers, allocating $50 million of dedicated youth housing through Big Housing Build in Victoria.

 

​This successful advocacy led to The Salvation Army Youth – alongside Homelessness Australia, Melbourne City Mission and the Community Housing Industry Association – presenting a National Youth Housing Action Plan to the Government last year.

 

“We’re very proud of that,” says Rob. “Home Time is a national action plan supported by 120 different organisations, peak bodies, and unions.”

 

The Home Time Action Plan called on federal, state and territory governments to develop and maintain a national pool of 15,000 dedicated youth tenancies, provide linked support services to enable young people to pursue their goals and transition to independence and address the rental gap to ensure viability for housing providers and landlords offering tenancies to young people who have been homeless. 

 

“We know for all people who are rough sleeping in adult years often had their first experience of homelessness in youth,” says Rob. “It’s a clear pathway into long-term homelessness, exclusion and disadvantage. Young people aren’t getting housing opportunities. There is a real need to have ongoing support in relation to life skills and to cover that rental gap to give fair and equitable access to housing opportunities. A safe housing outcome is critical to assist young people maintain connection to education, connection to community and family.” 

 

“When we can provide a safe, supportive accommodation option for young people experiencing crisis and homelessness, we see incredible outcomes.”

Almost 40,000 children and young people have nowhere to live across this country each year. ​Around 9500 of them are 15 to 17-year-olds, and thousands more lost their homes when they were children​. Thirty per cent of these homeless young people are First Nations.

 

“When we can provide a safe, supportive accommodation option for young people experiencing crisis and homelessness, we see incredible outcomes,” Rob says. “Education completion, reconciliation with family, long-term housing, all achieved from a period of support safety and stability.”

 

Multiple challenges exacerbate the housing crisis across Australia, with not enough social housing available, not enough rental properties on the market, not enough new houses being built, and not enough construction companies to build them.

 

The Home Time coalition has welcomed the Federal Government's decision to dedicate $1 billion to the creation of new housing for young people and women and their children escaping violence. And $700 million will be available as direct grants to housing providers.​ 

 

It’s the largest commitment to youth housing in memory,” Rob says. “It’s a very, very exciting day.” 


For more information on Home Time, click here

 

 

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