Hope for our homeless

SHELTER Tasmania has called for a long-term youth accommodation centre to be built in the state’s North-West, to help reduce youth homeless across the state.

People aged 15-17 have the greatest risk of facing homelessness.

People aged 15-17 have the greatest risk of facing homelessness.

Youth are currently the most at risk age group for homeless in Tasmania, due to the lack of long-term accommodation facilities.

Most youth can stay in a crisis accommodation shelter for up to six weeks, but if no long-term accommodation is secured after that, they are often moved from shelter to shelter.

Shelter Tasmania chief executive Pattie Chugg said people aged 15-17 had the greatest risk of facing homelessness.

‘‘It is very difficult for young people under 18 to enter into a formal lease arrangement in public or private housing,’’ she said.

‘‘We know it is particularly important to tackle youth homelessness, as the longer people are homeless the more likely they are to be at risk of persistent homelessness, as well as high risk of mental and physical health issues.

‘‘Currently in the North-West and North the funding for transitional support is insecure and inadequate, and crisis services are stretched beyond capacity.’’

Shelter Tasmania has called for more secure, ongoing funding for long-term youth accommodation services in the North and North-West and also for the development of a long-term youth accommodation centre in the North-West.

Anglicare’s Reducing Youth Homelessness report that was released this week, also recommended more funding for programs that provided case-managed support to families, increased funding to resource Child Protection Services and more support in schools.

Director of Housing Tasmania Peter White said the government provided more than $21 million per year to 18 specialist homelessness services across the state.

He said that since Anglicare’s report research was undertaken, which was in 2012, the government had come up with a number of strategies to tackle the issue.

‘‘Housing Connect, which began last year, now provides a one-stop shop for all housing and support needs,’’ he said.

‘‘This includes helping find long-term accommodation for young people who need it.’’

Housing Connect is made up of Anglicare, Centacare, Colony 47, Hobart City Mission and Salvation Army.

Anglicare receives $7.69 million each year to provide various housing and homelessness services, of which $6 million is used to deliver Housing Connect.

The North-West’s Youth, Family and Community Connections team leader Shane Leonard said the hardest thing about understanding youth homelessness was that it was often unseen.

He said most people stayed with family or friends rather than sleeping on the street and the last resort was to come to a shelter.

‘‘All these guys want is a roof over their heads and to feel safe,’’ he said.

Homeless Persons’ Week ran nationally from August 4 to August 10.

Email: mdadson@fairfaxmedia.com.au

Twitter: @ManikaDadson.

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