Core to the Foyer Foundation’s work is compiling threads of research, evaluation and thinking for a solution in youth homelessness.
The Foyer Foundation are delighted to see a clear policy development option of Youth Foyers in the recently published report from the Australian Housing and Urban Research Institute, Redesign of a homelessness service system for young people April 2020.
This peer-reviewed report highlights the need to reconsider the complete ‘system’ where interaction between young people and services (including school) takes place.
Key take away messages in relation to young people were alarming and clear;
- In 2017-18, 43,200 young people presented alone to homelessness services.
- A policy imperative is to find the development of youth specific social housing options that provide the appropriate levels of support that young people need. Education, training and employment are specifically mentioned.
- More than just linking housing and education/ employment, the concern that systems are siloed still needs to be addressed. We need to ensure embedded links with other systems such as mental health, drug and alcohol and community connectedness.
- The Home Stretch agenda and extension of support for all care leavers until 21 years was highlighted.
- Aboriginal young people are generally over-represented in homelessness services and there is a need for culturally appropriate service provision and practice. This is true in Youth Foyers, for while there has been significant interest from Aboriginal Community Controlled Organisations, including calls in the Victorian Aboriginal Housing and Homelessness Framework, there isn’t a specific Aboriginal controlled Youth Foyer yet.
A key policy development option from the report, and fully supported by the Foyer Foundation, is to integrate Youth Foyers into exit pathways for young people leaving specialist homelessness services. In fact, as the report does, we would go further and say that Youth Foyers should be an offer for many groups of at-risk young people to give them the best possible opportunity to develop independence.