Opinion Piece: Youth Homelessness Matters Day

Australian Treasury

Late last year, I sat down with young Tasmanians to talk about the future of housing in our country.

Like many young people across Australia, they were keen to hear how we plan to work with other governments to do more in supporting those experiencing housing challenges and improve housing affordability.

It’s a conversation that I’ve carried with me as I continue my work as Minister for Housing and Homelessness, and one that I’m drawing from as we mark Youth Homelessness Matters Day on Wednesday April 17.

Too many young Australians don’t have a safe and affordable place to call home.

That’s why the Albanese Labor government is committed to working alongside all levels of government and the community sector to ensure more young Australians have the support they need.

A key example of this is our government’s continued investment of more than $91 million into youth homelessness through the Reconnect program over 3 years.

Now in its 25th year, Reconnect is a community‑based and family‑focused program for early intervention and prevention of youth homelessness.

It offers access to a range of services to support young people to improve relationships with their family, stay connected to education or employment, and participate in their local community.

Reconnect is helping young Australians through more than 100 locations across the country, and I was pleased to visit another service earlier this month to discuss their important work in keeping young people connected and supported.

Hearing directly from the staff at Twenty10 inc. in Sydney underscored the importance of our government’s support for Reconnect.

But we know that this support alone cannot tackle the challenges our country’s young people are facing.

It requires collaboration – including with state and territories, local government and the construction sector – to work towards our country’s ambitious target to build 1.2 million homes.

We know building more homes for Australians who need them is the best way we can help to ensure fewer young Australians experience homelessness.

That’s why we have a broad and ambitious housing agenda, backed by more than $25 billion in new housing investments during the next decade.

Our new investments – including the $10 billion Housing Australia Future Fund and the $2 billion Social Housing Accelerator – will deliver more homes for Australians who need them.

We’re also providing support with the biggest boost to Commonwealth Rent Assistance in more than 30 years.

Another important collaboration is our ongoing work with states and territories, and housing and homelessness organisations on the development of the National Housing and Homelessness Plan.

The plan will help set out a shared national vision on tackling the country’s housing challenges across the responsibilities of different levels of government, and how best to support those experiencing housing stress and homelessness.

Labor is ensuring our broad and ambitious housing reform agenda is working for Australians – including our youth – right across the board, with more help for renters, more help for homebuyers, and more help for people needing a safe place for the night.

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