Mission Australia wants Federal Government to commit to homelessness program

Family Youth workers Kym O'Dwyer and Karen Duchar.
Picture: Jon Hewson        www.communitypix.com.au   d464840
Family Youth workers Kym O'Dwyer and Karen Duchar. Picture: Jon Hewson        www.communitypix.com.au d464840

MISSION Australia is calling on the Federal Government to urgently commit to refunding a vital program which prevents young people becoming homeless.

A report released by the community services provider shows the Reconnect program, which has operated in the Peel region since 2001, has had considerable positive impact on clients’ personal wellbeing, and housing permanency.

Reconnect is a free and confidential service that offers early intervention, counselling and practical support to at-risk young people aged 12 to 18 and their families with focus on the prevention of homelessness due to conflict.

The program aims to ensure that young people are able to access secure accommodation, stabilise their living situation, maintain family relationships and re-engage or increase |engagement with employment, education, training and the wider community.

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Based in Mandurah, Reconnect has worked with and supported a vast array of young people and their families across the Peel region, including Boddington, Dwellingup, Pinjarra, Waroona, Lake Clifton and the greater Mandurah area.

Mission Australia state director WA Amanda Hunt said the research showed the significant positive contribution Reconnect is having on young people’s lives, their families and the wider community in the Peel region.

However, it is uncertain whether Reconnect will be |refunded beyond June 2017.

“We’d urgently ask the Federal Government to guarantee a further five years of funding for this vital program and expand the program to additional locations of high child and youth homelessness,” she said.

A Department of Social Services spokeswoman said the Commonwealth Government understood the sector’s desire for funding certainty.

“The Government expects to be in a position to formally advise Reconnect providers about their future funding by the end of February,” she said.