NFPs Call for Housing Fund
25 November 2014 at 11:26 am
An alliance of peak bodies and community organisations is calling on the next Victorian Government to do more to prevent the 400 young people who leave state care each year from becoming homeless.
In the lead-up to the Victorian election the Council to Homeless Persons, the Centre for Excellence in Child and Family Welfare, Berry Street and the Victorian Aboriginal Child Care Agency have called on Government to invest an average of $13.8m per year over four years in a guaranteed housing fund.
“More than 400 young people leave state care each year to independent living and research shows that more than a third of these young people will end up homeless in the first year, with a lack of affordable housing the main factor,” the alliance said.
“Aboriginal young people are particularly vulnerable and overly represented in out of home care.”
“Our responsibility for kids in care doesn’t end when they turn 18. These kids need ongoing financial support in the same way that those from secure families often continue to receive from parents when they leave home,” CEO of the Council to Homeless Persons, Jenny Smith said.
“Young people leaving state care can’t rely on their family to help them pay rent, or get a bond together. In Melbourne where the median rent is $360 per week young people leaving state care are struggling to find appropriate, affordable accommodation.
“We want to see a guaranteed rent subsidy and appropriate supports for each and every young person leaving state care to independence, so that they don’t end up couch-surfing or cycling in and out of refuges, or worse, sleeping rough,” Smith said.
“The housing guarantee would deliver a maximum $4160 annual payment per young person either as a one-off rent guarantee, or as staggered $80 per week rent payment while they’re finishing studies and unable to work. Tailored support would also help the young person stay housed."
“While it might sound like a lot of money, the costs of youth homelessness are estimated to be $40,000 per year per young person. So this package is a sensible investment in prevention,” The Centre for Excellent in Child and Family Welfare CEO Deb Tsorbaris said.
Tsorbaris said that “the State Government has a role to play in ensuring the wellbeing of the state’s most disadvantaged children.”
“This election the future of Victoria’s children and young people is under the spotlight. Not only do we need to address their education and work opportunities, but we must also work towards Victoria having the best services to keep our kids healthy and safe.
“Additional money to assist some of the most vulnerable young people is key to ensuring our society can offer a better life with a bit of help’’ she said.