By Matthew Sims
A new report has found that more than one in 30 Victorian people aged 15 to 19 became homeless for the first time during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Ahead of Homelessness Week [Monday, August 1 to Sunday, August 7]The Mission Australia report ‘Without a home: Firsttime Youth homelessness in the COVID-19 period’ highlighted that 3.9 percent of Victorian respondents to Mission Australia’s 2021 Youth Survey aged 15 to 19 said they were homeless for the first time as a result of the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Mission Australia’s Victorian director Nada Nasser said the findings were “shocking” and emphasized the impact becoming homeless has on young people.
“Young people who were homeless for the first time during the pandemic said they faced massive mental health problems, family conflict and discrimination.
“Being homeless at such a crucial age can mean missing out on important opportunities for education and work.”
Ms. Nasser said a national plan to end homelessness and plans for universal risk assessments were urgently needed.
“Early intervention is crucial and we urge governments and others to take action so that young people are adequately supported and help them avoid homelessness, reach their full potential and thrive,” she said.
Everyone’s Home spokesperson Kate Colvin said the increasing impact of rising rents and stagnant wages was impacting living standards and putting people at risk of becoming homeless.
“When you combine rising rents with fixed wages, you put people in a financial vice,” she said.
“The recent change of government provides an opportunity for a reset.
“Now is the time to get moving and give people on low and modest incomes real choice.”
According to data from the 2021 Census, 28.5 percent of tenant households in Hobsons Bay experienced rent stress, which was an increase of 19.1 percent from the 9.4 percent of tenant households experiencing rent stress in 2016.
Details: www.missionaustralia.com.au/what-we-do/ending-homelessness/national-homelessness-week or homelessnessaustralia.org.au