Media Release by The Hon Brendan O’Connor MP

NT Youth Workers Recognised for Their Commitment

Minister for Housing and Homelessness Brendan O’Connor today met Anglicare staff in Darwin who work with vulnerable young people across the Northern Territory.

Mr O’Connor dropped into the Anglicare NT Youth Services Planning and Development Day, where staff and volunteers discussed how best to support young Territorians.

Mr O’Connor presented long service awards to six staff and thanked everyone present for working on projects that assist young people who are vulnerable to homelessness.

“It’s important we take care of young people who may not have the best start in life,” Mr O’Connor said.

“All young people need a safe and supportive environment, and the work that you all do can make an enormous difference.”

The Gillard Government has made tackling homelessness a national priority, with the goals of halving the rate of homelessness and offering supported accommodation to all rough sleepers who seek it by 2020.

“These are ambitious goals, and we have invested an unprecedented $5 billion in homelessness programs since 2008 to help us achieve them,” Mr O’Connor said.

The Gillard Government-funded services for young people vulnerable to homelessness provided by Anglicare NT include:

  • Reconnect, which is part of the Gillard Government’s Reconnect program. In the NT, three Reconnect services provide young people with counseling, group work, meditation and practical support to the whole family.
  • Youth Housing Options and Pathways Project, funded under the National Partnership Agreement on Homelessness, which provides young people who are homeless or at risk of homelessness with access to stable accommodation and support so that they can engage with employment, education or training.
  • The Young People Leaving Care (Moving On) Program, an initiative which assists young people leaving the care system to gain independence by providing linkages to employment, education, housing and other support services.
  • The Katherine Youth Accommodation Support Service, an initiative devised in consultation with community partners to respond to the needs of homeless or at risk young people in Katherine. The service provides crisis and short-term accommodation in the Katherine area and coordinates a range of services to ensure young people are linked to other supports such as education, training, alcohol and other drugs services, living skills and counselling. This service also actively seeks to re-unify young people with their families.

Mr O’Connor said the Gillard Government was committed to supporting young people who are vulnerable to homelessness, and to building more affordable housing around the nation.

“Having more affordable housing is key to ending homelessness. Without a stable, affordable home, young people struggle to stay in school or training or to find and keep a job.

“That’s why the federal Labor Government has invested $20 billion in housing and homelessness programs since coming to office. In fact, the Government has made a direct financial contribution to one in every 20 homes built around Australia since 2008.

“We also know that early intervention is needed to break the cycle and stop people churning through homelessness services.

“Anglicare’s ongoing support and dedication has given young Territorians the care and support needed to help stabilise their living situation.

“We don’t just want to give young people a roof over their head – we want to provide them with the support needed to sustain a healthy living environment.”