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Call for Focus on Youth Homelessness

Published: (Updated: ) in Australian News by .

Youth Network of Tasmania (YNOT) are calling for strong measures to tackle youth homelessness to be part of the fight against coronavirus. It is near impossible for young people experiencing homelessness to comply with strict but necessary public health measures to contain the spread of COVID-19,” said YNOT CEO Tania Hunt. “You can’t stay at […]

Youth Network of Tasmania (YNOT) are calling for strong measures to tackle youth homelessness to be part of the fight against coronavirus.

It is near impossible for young people experiencing homelessness to comply with strict but necessary public health measures to contain the spread of COVID-19,” said YNOT CEO Tania Hunt. “You can’t stay at home if you don’t have a home in the first place and maintaining basic hygiene practices, like washing your hands, is challenging.”

She said that as the nation faces an unprecedented public health crisis, youth homelessness matters now more than ever.

“We know that many young people experiencing homelessness have underlying health issues such as poor physical and mental health and are more susceptible to respiratory conditions and infections. Young people who are homeless are particularly vulnerable and at an increased risk of contracting COVID-19.” Hunt said.

In Australia, there are 28,000 young people aged 12 to 25 who are homeless on any given night, representing 42% of our total homeless population. Nearly 2 in 5 people experiencing homelessness in Tasmania are under 25 years of age.

She explained that the vast majority of young people experiencing homelessness are hidden from view and are couch surfing, living in overcrowded accommodation, in shelters or sleeping in their car. Family breakdown and family violence are the main causes of youth homelessness.

“As winter approaches, and we find ourselves dealing with the ongoing impacts of COVID-19, the demand for services will increase exponentially,” Hunt said. “Youth homelessness services are resourceful, resilient and adaptive however, without additional financial support the demand for services will be unmet and young people are at an increased risk of experiencing a range of adverse outcomes.”

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The Tasmanian government recently announced an additional $1 million for emergency accommodation as part of the Tasmanian Social and Economic Support Package.

“This is a welcome investment and will go some way in supporting vulnerable Tasmanians however, it is not yet clear where funds will be directed. We urge the Government to invest in supporting young people experiencing homelessness and the sector that supports them.” said Hunt.

A Communities Tasmania spokesperson said that the additional $1 million has been added to Emergency Relief fund was being channelled to Network Recovery Partners (Red Cross, Rural Business Tasmania and The Salvation Army) to deliver food hampers, medications, financial counselling and other essential support during self-isolation.

“In terms of accommodation, Tasmania’s shelters and youth supported accommodation facilities continue to operate and brokered emergency accommodation continues to be provided through our Housing Connect partners in the north and south of the state,” the spokesperson said.

“While the focus right now is firmly on the response to COVID-19, the Government remains committed to a number of projects that will increase the supply of housing and homeless services. These include the delivery of new youth foyers for young people in Burnie and Hobart, the expansion of Thyne House and a new Youth at Risk facility in Launceston.”

Source: Tasmanian Times https://tasmaniantimes.com/2020/04/call-for-focus-on-youth-homelessness/#utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=call-for-focus-on-youth-homelessness

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