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Existing funds could put a roof over the head of 4,000 young people experiencing homelessness

Community Housing Industry Association 2 mins read

An additional 2,090 homes housing more than 4,000 young people experiencing homelessness could be built by drawing on $1 billion already set aside by the Commonwealth, according to new modelling that will be presented to federal politicians in Canberra today.

The money was allocated last year to the National Housing Infrastructure Facility (NHIF) during negotiations between the Greens and the Government over legislation to establish the Housing Australia Future Fund.

Modelling conducted by Professor Laurence Troy, of the Australian Housing and Urban Research Institute is based on constructing two bedroom dwellings based on building costs in Melbourne’s inner east and the NSW mid north coast. It assumes  a 60/40 split between metro and regional areas with the units occupied by tenants paying rent set to a maximum of 25% of their income plus any Commonwealth Rent Assistance they may be eligible for. The analysis highlights the investment can also include developments of congregate and core and cluster housing.

An analysis released last week of the most recent Specialist Homelessness Services data, revealed 37,872 children and young people approached homelessness services alone for assistance in 2022/23, including 9,232 children aged 15-17. Even after assistance from homelessness services, 44% of children and young people 15-24 were still homeless.

“Our system for supporting young people experiencing homelessness is fundamentally broken,” said Wendy Hayhurst, CEO of the Community Housing Industry Association. “But with $1 billion ready to be deployed we can almost immediately start turning sods and building the homes young people need. Community Housing providers are ready to help, we just need the political and financial commitment.

Kate Colvin, CEO of Homelessness Australia said the youth homelessness crisis would not be resolved without expanding dedicated housing. “Children should not be sleeping rough in Australia, but that is the reality. The funds that are already set aside will not fix the youth homelessness crisis but they will make a solid start on delivering the homes needed. We need to get moving on this immediately.”

Shorna Moore, from youth homelessness provider, Melbourne City Mission said “Every day we see teenagers and children escaping violence, homophobia or neglect. But we can’t get them safe homes because there simply isn’t enough housing or support to help everyone who walks through the door."

Interviews: Nick Lucchinelli 0422 229 032

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