The most recent census has reported an 80% surge in homelessness in Bankstown. These figures, compared to that of the previous census, are deeply concerning for our Bankstown Outreach team who have also faced a wide range of other challenges this year.
The Outreach team are witnessing increased disadvantages amongst young people in the area with the COVID-19 pandemic further intensifying the situation in Bankstown. Due to restrictions on running Outreaches and other events, the team have been focusing completely on individual support and case work. In this time they have seen a dramatic increase in young people being referred for a wide range of issues.
Rand Faied, Team Leader at Bankstown Outreach, said the numbers of young people being referred was deeply concerning to her and her team.
“The amount of young people that needed case management increased dramatically. We had never seen those kinds of numbers before. The main issue young people were being referred for was finding accommodation and refuge from domestic and family violence. In just a short time, from the end of April to now, our team have supported 105 young people in finding accommodation.”
On top of increased rates of domestic violence and unemployment, both contributing heavily to homelessness in the area, refuges were also full during this time and were restricted to the numbers of young people they could accept. Our Outreach team therefore had limited access to accommodation services they would otherwise reach out to.
Other services the team would usually gain support from, such as food delivery services, were also shut during the lockdown, making Bankstown Outreach’s busiest time also their most challenging in more ways than one.
The team have now recommenced street walk programs in Bankstown in order to reach out to these most vulnerable young people in the area. Through individual support the team have been able to assist each young person through a whole journey of life changes, such as finding accommodation and a job, counselling and drug and alcohol support.
Our Bankstown Outreach team are working hard to support as many young people in the area as possible and their dedication during this difficult time has not gone unnoticed. Changing the life of just one young person for the better is an incredible feat, and yet the team have been affecting real change every day in the lives of hundreds of young people in need.
A young person from the area said the Bankstown Outreach team were always there for him throughout this tough time:
“I got to know some of the youth workers really well and they were always there to talk to when I had no one else. When we went into lockdown and Outreach’s were cancelled it meant my only chance to socialise each week was gone, but the staff continued to reach out to me individually throughout the whole period so I wasn’t alone.”
We would like to thank Canterbury Leagues for funding the Bankstown Outreach Program. Thanks to them our Bankstown Outreach team are able to continue supporting young people through even the most difficult of times and lead them towards positive lives.