Homeless youth growing problem

Ms Boldy said the organisation was seeing record levels of young people sleeping on the streets.

‘Our Street Connect, a street based outreach program, has been running for more than 23 years,’ she said.

‘At present we are seeing a record high of young people who are sleeping rough, because they simply can not find accessible suitable accommodation elsewhere and do not have families who they can turn to.’

Ms Boldy said the high cost of housing, high level of youth unemployment and growing mental health issues were affecting young people’s ability to get stable accommodation and help.

She said disadvantaged young people were statistically more likely to have contact with the youth justice system, which is why prevention and engagement programs targeting this group were important.

‘We cannot expect young people with multiple complex, social and health issues to be able to access 20 different service providers to get the help they need,’ she said.

Ms Boldy said the organisation’s Foyer Oxford project, being set up in Leederville, was an example of a ‘wrap around’ service that would help young people with a range of their needs.

‘The Foyer Oxford offers high quality accommodation, intensive support and access to employment and training options and is one of the ways we see bringing together services working really well,’ she said.

Ms Boldy said 75 per cent of young people involved in the Foyer interim service in Mt Lawley had moved into long term, stable accommodation once they left the project, and 79 per cent were in education and training.

‘Both education and housing are interlinked. None of us can maintain good quality accommodation without employment or the foundations of being able to be economically independent.

‘Likewise you can not expect young people to get work or attend school without somewhere to live,’ she said.