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Tackling youth homelessness in Bass Coast

Tackling youth homelessness in Bass Coast

Tuesday 2 April 2019

Bass Coast Shire Council recently facilitated a youth homelessness workshop to discuss and define what youth homelessness looks like in our community, and how young people can be better supported.

The workshop was attended by local service providers from across the sector, professionals, and young people and parents with life experiences to share.

Following the two-hour workshop, the group presented their findings back to Council representatives.

Jasmine Furphy from the Salvation Army commented how great it was to have so many people from difference services and programs, all in the one room.

“The workshop provided an opportunity for us to step outside of our individual roles, and work collectively and collaboratively to evaluate the system,” Ms Furphy said.

“It was important for us to acknowledge the great work being done, and identify the gaps.”

“From all perspectives we agreed that there is a concerning lack of crisis accommodation in Bass Coast.”

Bass Coast Shire Councillor, Cr Michael Whelan, explained that the closest available crisis accommodation for people experiencing homelessness is in Morwell or Dandenong.

“This poses a huge issue because it means removing someone who is already vulnerable from their community, where they may have connections to family, friends, school or work,” Cr Whelan said.

“This is why Council is advocating for an investment of $1.25 million from the Federal Government to fund local providers and enable them to provide a bricks and mortar solution, to increase crisis housing locally.”

Council have been advocating on the issue of Homelessness in the lead up to the Federal Election, this has included letters and discussions with local candidates and the Minister and Shadow Minister for Housing.

The workshop also discussed that much of the homelessness occurring in Bass Coast is invisible, and often not seen or noticed by the community. This can include things like sleeping rough, couch surfing, and being placed in the care of other family. As one young person said,

‘Even if family take you in it can still feel very stressful and more often than not it isn’t a permanent solution.’

Bass Coast Shire Council will continue to advocate towards an increased allocation of funding to local agencies, to enable them to identify and develop appropriate emergency housing and supported accommodation options in Bass Coast.

Participants at the Youth Homelessness Workshop held in Wonthaggi, along with Council representatives.