Young homeless people trying to get off the streets and move into permanent housing need to be treated respectfully and fairly, according to 19 youths whose experiences feature in a report launched in Armadale today.
Child Protection Minister Sue Ellery said the Anglicare WA report researched by Edith Cowan University explored the journey toward independence of young Western Australians aged between 16 and 22 years.
“This study is timely and relevant and will help Government and non-Government agencies gain a deeper understanding of the difficulties young people face during the transition from homelessness to permanent accommodation,” Ms Ellery said.
“When young people do become homeless, they are more at risk of substance abuse, family and peer-group violence, crises with identity, interrupted schooling and mental health issues.
“Many of them subsequently become unemployed, extremely poor and highly marginalised, and may come into contact with police.
“This report shows how some young people managed these difficulties and what support they required. Unfortunately, many found themselves stereotyped and stigmatised, being viewed as a problem or risk.
“The findings will contribute to policies, programs, and support services enabling young people to more easily manage the transition to an independent way of life.”
The Minister said the State Government was committed to helping disadvantaged and marginalised Western Australians.
In 2007-08, the Government, through the Commonwealth/State Supported Accommodation Assistance Program, provided funding of more than $10million for 37 services for homeless young people.
Another $4million was provided for 54 services for young people, including seven youth counselling services.
“Additionally, the Government increased funding to existing SAAP services by 10 per cent in the 2006-07 Budget,” Ms Ellery said.
Minister's office - 9213 7150