More than 100,000 people are experiencing homelessness across Australia every year.
According to new data from the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS), for every 10,000 Australians, 50 have no permanent home. In addition, the jump in homelessness in New South Wales was larger than any other state or territory, increasing from 28,191 to 37,715 in 5 years.
Alan Brennan, CEO of Pathfinders, says these concerning figures show the urgent need for federal, state and local organisations to strengthen their efforts and commitment to helping the homeless population find safe and secure lasting accommodation.
Pathfinders, a not-for-profit agency, runs a number of refuges, crisis accommodation and youth services for families and children in the New England North West, and supported more than 150 people in the Armidale Youth Refuge and 470 people through the Inverell and Glen Innes Services last year.
“Many people who seek our specialist homelessness support services not only struggle to keep up with rising housing costs but also face issues like domestic violence, substance abuse, unemployment and mental illness. Finding or keeping employment, going to school, remaining in education and raising healthy families is increasingly difficult or nearly impossible for these youth and families who don’t have the security and safety of permanent accommodation.”Alan Brennan – Pathfinders CEO
Armidale youth refuge and homelessness support service
In Armidale alone, more than 250 people are homeless. In 2016 they were 69 more than in 2011.
Doug O’Loughlan, Manager of Pathfinders’ Armidale Youth Homelessness Support Service, says there are misconceptions about youth homelessness that make it difficult for people to see that it’s a growing issue.
“Youth homelessness can seem invisible to the community because people assume that if they’re not seen sleeping on the street then they have a place to call home. Instead, the youth are couch surfing, sleeping in cars or staying in overcrowded accommodation or temporary homes until they’re pushed out.”Doug O’Loughlan – Armidale Youth Refuge Manager
The report also found that 34% of the homeless population are 24 years and younger.
Young people have come to the Armidale Youth Refuge seeking assistance with support, private accommodation, crisis accommodation, emergency food, shelter from domestic and family violence, mental health issues and trauma. The social impact of youth homelessness in the Armidale area is prolific, with resources in health, temporary accommodation, food relief and other services being accessed daily.
Inverell and Glen Innes Homelessness support
Pathfinders’ Inverell and Glen Innes SHS program helped 470 people last year alone. Of these, 54.2% of were young people, including those in the Women and Children’s Refuge in Inverell.
“Every day, we have local and inter-state people coming to our office seeking help because they don’t have a permanent home,” said Daisy Brown, SHS Inverell Support Worker.
“It’s difficult for them to secure private rentals and access public housing, with many of them unable to keep up with rental costs or unable to get a rental reference, and they’ve already accessed crisis accommodation and aren’t sure where to go next.
“It’s not easy knowing what steps to take, especially with the extreme stress of homelessness – not having a place to go to or to sleep at night.”
For more information on Pathfinders Homelessness services, or if you want to refer someone to a refuge visit: