Cathy Beacham, a pregnant teenager who had fled from domestic violence, found herself facing homelessness. She reached out to her midwife for support, but the midwife, unsure of what to do, contacted child protection instead. This made Beacham feel ashamed and concerned that her baby would be taken away. Eventually, she found help from the Melbourne City Mission and now resides in temporary housing with her two children in Melbourne while she waits for a permanent home. The Council to Homeless Persons is advocating for the Victorian government to invest $2.7 billion in the construction of 5,000 social housing units for young people over the next four years to combat the youth homelessness crisis. The Council states that though some young people receive assistance when they seek it, many face distressing situations when they turn to homelessness services for support. In 2021-22, over 16,000 young people sought help from homelessness services in Victoria, but more than half of the 8,000 who required medium or long-term accommodation were turned away without a home or referral to another service. The Council proposes youth-specific and evidence-based solutions to overcome these challenges. The proposed social housing units for young people should include standalone accommodation and units and form part of a suite of measures aimed at ending Victoria’s youth homelessness crisis. The Council proposes additional measures such as a rental income subsidy of $83.9 million to assist more young people in accessing social housing and $154.8 million for specialist mental health, employment, and educational support for young people to help them maintain their housing. These proposals aim to help young people who are experiencing or at risk of homelessness access secure and stable housing, enabling them to realize their potential and thrive as adults. The Council has urged the government to improve social housing supply in its budget submission.
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