Youth Homelessness Matters Day is on this Wednesday April 19, and local organisation Pathfinders are holding a free event at the Armidale Skate Park.
Youth Homelessness Matters Day (YHMD) is a national day that aims to raise awareness and public discussion about child and youth homelessness. Coordinated by peak body Yfoundations, it’s a day to start conversations about sustainable and innovative solutions for supporting the needs of young people experiencing homelessness. Local organisation Pathfinders will be holding a free lunch to celebrate the day, including a skateboarding demo, art activities, and a free barbecue, at the Armidale Skate Park on Wednesday April 19 between 11am and 1pm.
Pathfinders currently operate a small youth refuge in Armidale, as well as working with Homes North to provide accomodation and operating an outreach service called Armidale Youth Homelessness Support Service (AYHSS). TFSS operate a similar service in Tamworth. These are the only two youth refuges in the entire New England.
According to Yfoundations:
- Almost 40,000 young people presented to a specialist homelessness service in 21-22
- Around a third of young people presenting were Indigenous
- A third of those presenting to a specialist homelessness service were couch surfing (crashing at a friend or family member’s place without a permanent home) before they sought help
- Half of all the young people that present to crisis refuges were turned away because there was no available beds
This YHMD 2023, Yfoundations are asking people to sign a petition calling on the federal government to develop a standalone National Child and Youth Homelessness and Housing Strategy.
The organisation says the specific and complex needs of children and young people at risk of or experiencing homelessness have been assumed to be the same as those of adults and have not been explicitly addressed in government plans to address homelessness. As the Labor Government commits to developing a National Housing and Homelessness Plan, they are calling for a commitment to develop a strategy specifically for children and young people.
Pathfinders are supporting the petition and will be asking those who attend their lunch on Wednesday, as well as the rest of the community, to sign the petition and support the call for better strategies to deal with youth homelessness.
You can sign the petition here https://chng.it/p2gqbd5BKf
Find out more about the Pathfinders event at the Skate Park here.
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