CEO message: Youth Homelessness Matters

17th of April marked Youth Homelessness Matters Day, a cause that is deeply important as too many young multicultural Australians face housing insecurity.  

We are in the midst of a housing crisis.  

The 2021 census indicates that 77% of young people in Victoria experiencing homelessness or housing stress were born overseas or had at least one parent born overseas. Click here to read our detailed report on housing and income on Victoria’s youth population. Rapidly increasing housing prices, coupled with stagnant incomes, creates overwhelming barriers to safe and secure housing. This crisis disproportionately affects young people, who are more likely to rent, move frequently, and have lower incomes. 

Additionally, newly-arrived young people bear a disproportionate burden of housing stress. They face unique challenges including language barriers, discrimination, and a lack of cultural understanding within the housing system. These barriers exacerbate their vulnerability to homelessness and housing insecurity – Australia’s housing system is failing them and unfairly limiting their life chances. CMY Youth Workers on the ground are seeing young people face these barriers firsthand, with difficulties accessing services and supports.  
That’s why programs like CMY’s Reconnect are imperative to giving young multicultural people the support they need to prevent their living situations from worsening. Reconnect is an initiative that aims to prevent homelessness through community-based early intervention and prevention for young people from refugee and migrant backgrounds who are homeless or at risk of homelessness. Watch CMY’s Executive Manager Programs and Services, Jemal Ahmet, interview on SBS on youth homelessness.  
CMY has signed on to support the Home Time Campaign, a new national initiative to make ending youth homelessness a priority. The Home Time Action Plan calls on federal, state and territory governments to: 

  • Develop and maintain a national pool of 15,000 dedicated youth tenancies. 
  • Provide linked support services to enable young people to pursue their goals and transition to independence. 
  • Address the rental gap to ensure viability for housing providers and landlords offering tenancies to young people who have been homeless. 

CMY strongly believes ending youth homelessness must be made a national priority. We need a targeted, intersectional youth homelessness strategy that responds to the diverse needs of all young people experiencing, or at risk of, homelessness. 

We must act now to ensure all young Australians, regardless of their background, have access to safe and secure housing. If you’d like to join us in taking action, you can do so here.

Carmel Guerra OAM