Youth homelessness falls on government’s deaf ears

The Queensland Government has been turning a deaf ear to the looming shortage of youth crisis accommodation, a local organisation said.  

The organisation, Caloundra Youth Focus (CYF), said despite the number of referrals has increased by 47% per cent over the last three years, the government’s static response to funding requests is now forcing the group to cut its service capacity.

“High rents and an increasing population have made housing difficult to find and unaffordable for many youth in the community. This has resulted in an enormous increase in requests for emergency accommodation,” said Michael Jacobson, the group’s volunteer treasurer.

Mr Jacobson said as a range of government support fell short of enabling the group to cope with the increasing demand, it had to source $250,000 of private funding, which is expected to run out this year.  

“With the additional funding CYF has been able to provide accommodation and support to young people that have been sexually abused, young people with mental health issues and counselling services for both clients and their parents – services which may not have to be cut,” he said.

“We cannot sustain this level of service, which is obviously more than needed, without government support.”

He said the group has been submitting requests for more funding to the State Government since last December which continued to “fall on deaf ears”.

“We have been shunted from one department to the next, correspondence has been lost and both phone calls and letters remain unanswered.

“The State needs to understand that we have an issue here and that it cannot be addressed by relying on non-government funding or on volunteers trying to drum up that private support – it’s just not sustainable over the long-term," Mr Jacobson said.

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