A recent report has called for homelessness support for young people to be better integrated into the services accessed by this cohort, such as schools, in order to prevent youth homelessness before it becomes a way of life for some young people.
Swinburne University and the University of Western Australia’s Centre for Social Impact have produced a report as a result of a study into a homelessness prevention project in the Yarra Ranges, Victoria. The report looks in detail at the experiences of young people within the education system whose lives have been impacted by homelessness, which in many instances means couch surfing or staying for short periods with friends.
Two organisations, Anchor Youth Services and the Outer Eastern Local Learning and Employment Network (OELLEN), have worked in partnership with the two universities to explore the nature of youth homelessness and work at ways to ‘develop sustainable partnerships between schools and industry to support the retention, attainment and career pathways of at-risk young people’.
Recommendations from the report, Couch surfing students: The Yarra Ranges Youth Homelessness Prevention Project, include:
Local homeless youth services need to have a presence within schools.
Staff and students need to be educated about homelessness and local youth homeless services.
Schools need to be equipped to offer immediate support to students in crisis.
Accommodation and other support needs to be provided to young students.
There needs to be reconsideration of the term ‘homelessness’ as used in the youth context.