Warning: This article references abuse and suicide. It may be triggering for some. If you or someone you love is in need of support, Lifeline (13 11 14) is available 24/7, free of charge.
The experience of homelessness is a problem that impacts thousands of young Australians every year. According to data from The Australian Bureau of Statistics, as shared by Musicians Making A Difference (MMAD), some 27,680 young people in Australia are homeless on any given night.
And that is sadly not where the difficult stats end. MMAD highlights that “225,487 Australian children are suspected of being harmed or at risk of harm from abuse and/or neglect each year,” that “1 in 10 young people are disengaged from education &/or employment”, and that “suicide is the leading cause of death for young Australians aged 15-24”.
The problems faced by so many young people in Australia are real, they’re challenging, and they’re wide-reaching. And while this information is hard to swallow, there are organisations and programs in place that seek to help support those young people who need it.
If you’d like to learn about how you can support at-risk young people and help prevent youth homelessness, the following services are a great place to start.
Organisations working to prevent youth homelessness in Australia
Musicians Making a Difference (MMAD)
Musicians Making A Difference (MMAD) has been working with children and young people for almost two decades, seeking to “engage, inspire, educate & empower young people through the power of music and mentoring”.
The organisation offers services like street support groups, a music soup kitchen, and mentoring for young people. National welfare support is also available on their online platform Access All Areas. You can back the cause by donating to the organisation directly, volunteering or getting involved in one of its initiatives, like MMAD Streetwear.
As shared by MMAD, its Streetwear “designs are limited edition & are inspired by, or created with, the talented young people we reach. When you buy an item, 100% of proceeds go towards transforming the life of a young person in need”.
For Musicians Making A Difference Day (October 15), MMAD has released a new Keep Your Head Up tee designed by Raymond Lalotoa which you can buy right now for $59.95.
Australian Red Cross
The Australia Red Cross is an organisation centred on supporting communities in a number of different ways. One of the spaces they work in is homelessness. Specifically looking at young people experiencing homelessness, the Australian Red Cross works to help people impacted develop skills, connections and/or employment opportunities.
The St Vincent De Paul Society
The St Vincent De Paul Youth Homelessness Support program offers services like access to crisis accommodation, employment services, mental health support and budgeting guidance for young people either experiencing homelessness or at risk of it.
Youth Off The Streets
This organisation works to support young people with access to safety and support services, along with opportunities intended to help them plan for a positive future.
Ungooroo Aboriginal Corporation
A not-for-profit organisation based on Wannaruah country, Ungooroo Aboriginal Corporation offers a range of services including specialist homelessness services for young people.
Ungooroo Aboriginal Corporation’s Specialist Homelessness Services for Youth, with support from the NSW Government, focuses on support for youth who identify as Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander who are experiencing homelessness or are at risk of this.
Support the organisation by shopping its Indigenous art collection or making a visit to its cafe in Singleton.
Kids Under Cover
This is another example of a well-established organisation working to support disadvantaged young people in an effort to prevent youth homelessness in Australia. Kids Under Cover offers studio accommodation and education scholarships as part of its service.
Twenty10 is a NSW based organisation offering support to LGBTQ+ young people who are at risk of homelessness or are currently experiencing homelessness. The service offers information and support to those in need as well as transitional housing for young people aged 16-25.
It’s worth noting here that while Twenty10 is a NSW based organisation, it is a partner of QLife which offers free support to LGBTQ+ people across Australia.