Dear Youth Homelessness Matters Day Supporter,
Youth Homelessness Matters Day (YHMD) has been an exciting campaign since its inception in 1990. Started by a group of social advocates who believed that too many young people were moving out of home with no where to go, the day has since grown into a national celebration of young people’s resilience.
For us, Youth Homelessness Matters Day started because of young people like Trent. Trent has Obsessive Compulsive disorder (OCD) and anxiety issues. As he did not want to drag his two year old brother, nine year old sister and grandmother down, he decided to run away. At first, Trent did not want to ask for help because he was told that refuges were not great. When he finally decided to call a service, they did not have any bed for him. A week later he was given a spot and he loved the place: ‘even nicer than most colleges and everyone is so nice’ he said! Trent could get support for his mental health issues and fells must better now.
Youth homelessness is something that affects most people, whether it’s a parent who lets their child’s friend crash on the couch for a couple nights or an Aunty who hears of her niece being kicked out. Yet many people don’t know the impact this issue has on our young people or what to do to help.
We do this work for people like Trent, who was one of the lucky ones. We see this as a good story. For many others, the school counselor doesn’t know what to do or doesn’t care. Most of the time there aren’t any vacancies at youth accommodation services and young people have to move far from their childhood town. For others, they hear rumours about ‘youth refuges’ and are scared that they will just end up becoming a good-for-nothing bad kid.
This campaign aims to address these problems. We’ll probably never live in a society where no young person has to leave home early (although that would be nice) and we are aware of the fact that family breakdown is sometimes inevitable. However, young people should not have to face homelessness and discrimination when their home life doesn’t work out. They shouldn’t be faced with a life of disadvantage just because they were dealt a bad hand and born to imperfect parents or a broken family.
We look forward to creating brighter futures for the young people who have faced homelessness and showing them that they have the power and opportunity to become whatever they put their mind to.
From the National Youth Coalition for Housing