Media Release by The Hon Mark Butler MP and The Hon Melissa Parke MP

Reconnecting young people to break the cycle of homelessness

Joint Media Release with:

  • The Hon Mark Butler MP
    Minister for Mental Health and Ageing
    Minister for Housing and Homelessness
    Minister for Social Inclusion
    Minister Assisting the Prime Minister on Mental Health Reform

  • THE Hon Melissa Parke MP
    Parliamentary Secretary for Mental Health
    Parliamentary Secretary for Homelessness and Social Housing

The Gillard Government will invest $73 million over three years to help vulnerable young people break the cycle of homelessness.

Minister for Housing and Homelessness Mark Butler said the funding will support more than 100 Reconnect services across Australia until June 2016.

“This funding provides certainty to 30 specialist services which assist Indigenous Australians, newly arrived youth, people struggling with mental health issues, and young LGBTI Australians,” Mr Butler said.

“Reconnect services help some of our most vulnerable young people get their lives back on track, avoid homelessness and in many cases move out of homelessness and into secure accommodation.”

“The funding will ensure important supports continue to be provided including counselling, mediation, group work and practical support for young people and their families.”

“Sadly, family breakdown is a major cause of homelessness for young people, and that’s why Reconnect services have a strong focus on helping families build stronger relationships and resolve conflict.”

Ms Parke said an independent evaluation of the program last year reported it was consistently successful in improving the lives of young people who are homeless or at risk of homelessness.

“Since 2000, Reconnect has helped more than 67,000 young people work their way back from homelessness, including more than 5,700 in 2011-12 alone,” Ms Parke said.

“About 90 per cent of these young people getting individualised supports through the program said their situation had improved, and the risk of homelessness had reduced for almost three-quarters.”

“Tens of thousands of young people who could have ended up on the streets have instead been helped to stabilise their lives, move back with their families, or continue their education or training.”

Mr Butler said most of the recommendations of the evaluation would be implemented straight away to further improve outcomes under the program.

“Without a secure home, people struggle to find and keep jobs or stay in training or education, or to keep their kids in school, and that’s why this government has made homelessness a national priority,” Mr Butler said.

“We are committed to halving homelessness by 2020, and have invested an unprecedented $20 billion in housing and homelessness services and programs since 2007.”

The independent evaluation is available online at