Every day, there are 44,000 homeless young people around Australia. Youth Homelessness Matters Day is this Wednesday, April 5 and I implore you to support the cause and spread the message of ending youth homelessness. I always say that youth homelessness and the way we treat our disadvantaged young people is our national disgrace. We live in one of the wealthiest countries in the world yet we still can’t manage to give the support and care to those who need it most.
Homelessness is often invisible to everyday Australians. Sure, we pass those sleeping rough in our major cities but the realistic embodiment of homelessness is much different. Homelessness is not just sleeping on the streets, people you come across in your everyday life can be homeless without you even noticing. Homelessness can include couch surfing, living in refuges and sleeping in cars. You may not visibly recognise these people as homeless, but their experience is real and traumatic. Homelessness is not knowing where you will stay on any given night, not having somewhere safe to go after school or not having any fixed place to call home.
At Youth Off The Streets, we tackle all sides of homelessness. Our Street Walk in Sydney ensures we reach out to those sleeping rough on the streets, while our outreach services employ locally and provide events to bring the community closer together. We provide crisis accommodation and homelessness services to young Australians and we have recently increased funding to tackle family violence, the leading cause of homelessness in Australia. I go where I am needed most, and the areas I work in have seen great improvement as my youth workers connect with the local young people.
This Youth Homeless Matters day, won’t you stop, think and spread the message about our invisible homeless?
Father Chris Riley
CEO and Founder at Youth Off The Streets