New youth homelessness project for regional South Australia
The State Government will provide UniSA with $300,000 funding over two years to pilot a new youth homelessness early intervention project in regional South Australia.
UniSA and partners Uniting Communities and SYC Adelaide will contribute a further $150,000 to the project announced as part of 2016 Homelessness Prevention Week.
The Regional Homelessness Intervention Project aims to keep young people at home, in school and linked to their communities.
UniSA will work with a number of organisations that have contact with at risk young people.
The pilot, to be rolled out in Mount Gambier and then Whyalla, will investigate how early intervention can address disengagement, homelessness and the wellbeing of young South Australians.
Young people will be reconnected with school or other education, employment or training to positively impact their mental health, social and economic wellbeing.
The pilot program is one measure to address youth homelessness, a key priority of the 2016 Youth Strategy for South Australia 'Connected to Youth'.
The program is based on an early intervention program in Geelong, Victoria, to prevent homelessness by keeping young people at home, in school and linked to the community.
In South Australia, the homelessness sector receives funding of more than $58 million through the National Affordable Housing Agreement and the National Partnership Agreement on Homelessness. The sector is comprised of 40 providers who provide 75 programs across the state, including three telephone gateway services.
The gateways link clients to crisis housing and supports, including in the city. These include the St Vincent de Paul Men's Homelessness Accommodation Service (with 47 beds for single adult males), Catherine House (16 beds for single adult women) and Youth 110 (30 apartments for young people between 16 and 21 years).
Minister for Youth, Zoe Bettison said:
This pilot program is an opportunity to be proactive in reducing youth homelessness in South Australia.
Decisions that young people make can have a huge influence on their future opportunities and the path their lives take. Supporting young people to make good decisions and positive life choices is critical to providing a bright future for young South Australians.
The Government is committed to partnerships and opportunities for collaboration to better support young people at risk of homelessness.
Working together to share skills, knowledge and innovation are central to the success of the pilot program in reducing the number of young people at risk of homelessness.
Associate Professor Deirdre Tedmanson said:
The co-design and collaborative focus of his project will see local schools, community organisations and youth services working together towards early intervention whereby risk is identified and appropriate responses mapped – it's innovative, evidence based and responsive to local need.
UniSA's School of Psychology, Social Work and Social Policy and our partners SYC and Uniting Communities will work collaboratively with the support of local schools, families and youth services to identify those at risk and develop targeted support.
UniSA has regional campuses and well established local networks which will ensure a sound base for the project to build upon.
We will also work closely with youth homelessness expert Associate Professor David MacKenzie who will provide advice and help monitor the project's local impact.
Early intervention is a key to maximising family connectedness, strengthening young people's social and emotional wellbeing and resilience. The aim is to minimise homelessness before it's an issue.