Media Release by The Hon Tanya Pibersek MP

Government announces new Reconnect youth homelessness service in Caboolture

Tanya Plibersek, today announced that the Australian Government has funded Lutheran Community Care a total of $215,266 to open a new Reconnect homelessness intervention service for young people in Caboolture.

The funding will expand the existing Caboolture Intercept Youth Service to incorporate a Reconnect service.

Reconnect services assist young people aged between 12 and 18 who are homeless or at risk of homelessness, as well as their families. The aim is to keep young people in the family home when its safe to stay.

“Reconnect services provide counselling, mediation and practical support to the whole family, to help break the cycle of homelessness, which can begin at an early age,” Ms Plibersek said.

“In addition to family reconciliation, one of Reconnect’s main aims is to help young people stay engaged with school, work and their local community.”

Lutheran Community Care has operated a Reconnect service in the Logan area of Queensland for eight years, working with over 840 young people and 500 families in that time.

Member for Longman, Jon Sullivan, said that expanding services in Caboolture will help Lutheran Community Care reach more young Queenslanders and assist the Government’s efforts to reduce homelessness over the next decade.

“Reconnect is based in the community for the community. It is easily accessible to young people and their families who may be experiencing family issues or breakdown which have ended in a young person becoming homeless or at real risk of homelessness,” Mr Sullivan said.

“The ultimate goal of Reconnect is to help a young person re-engage with their family. But when this is not possible, Reconnect finds ways to help that young person find alternative safe, secure and affordable housing.”

A report released last month by the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) found there were 105,000 Australians who were homeless on Census night in 2006, up from 99,900 in 2001.

While the overall number of homeless Australians was up, the 21 per cent decrease in the number of homeless youth between 2001 and 2006 is good news and homelessness workers say this reduction is thanks in part to early intervention programs such as Reconnect.

Addressing homelessness is a major priority for the Rudd Government, with an additional $150 million already announced to build new homes for homeless Australians under A Place To Call Home. A White Paper on homelessness is due to be released later this year.