Thinking of our Youth
With National Youth Week approaching, now is a time to reflect on the areas of improvement needed for youth. Recent studies reveal that 1 in 7 youth are at risk of homelessness. This is not acceptable.
Lack of job opportunities presents a challenge for many young people, and is a contributing factor to the increasing number of youth at risk of homelessness.
It is very concerning that young people who have formerly been in residential care or foster care represent two thirds of homeless youth. Where most children growing up in Australia receive ongoing support from their parents, even into adulthood, children leaving care must fend for themselves.
This week I had the opportunity to visit Samaritans Student Accommodation. This program is based on a Foyer Model offering supported accommodation, education and employment opportunities to young people. I was touched to see these young people, who were previously at risk of homelessness, overcoming personal barriers and pursuing tertiary education.
Tegan Butts, who is one of the twelve young people supported by Samaritans Student Accommodation, is a testament to the success of the program. This week she was invited to speak at Parliament House to officially launch National Youth Week 2016 after being recognised as the 2015 Student Volunteer of the Year.
Samaritans Student Accommodation does not receive any Government funding and relies purely on donations from the community and our major business sponsors. The way forward is for the Government to invest funding in programs such as Samaritans Student Accommodation, which demonstrate a proven success in supporting young people to complete vocational training and move on to appropriate employment and secure accommodation.