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Media Release by The Hon Tanya Pibersek MP

$48 Million To Reconnect Homeless Youth

The Australian Government will invest $48 million over the next two years to continue to support young people who are homeless or at risk of becoming homeless, through the Reconnect program.

With this investment, the existing 115 Reconnect providers will be able to continue to deliver services such as counselling, group work, family mediation and practical support to young people, aged 12-21.

Reconnect operates across Australia and provides support to a broad range of young people, including Indigenous, newly arrived and those from culturally and linguistically diverse backgrounds.

As part of the new contracts, the Government will require Reconnect providers to be better linked with other homelessness services as part of our commitment to better wrap-around services as outlined in the Homelessness White Paper.

The Government is working to streamline processes for this vulnerable group of young people, by incorporating the successful Newly Arrived Youth Support Service (NAYSS) with existing Reconnect providers.

Throughout 2008, Reconnect and NAYSS supported about 7000 young people nationally and achieved outcomes in areas including accommodation.

The Rudd Government made addressing youth homelessness a priority when it released the Homelessness White Paper last December, which lays out a comprehensive plan to tackle homelessness.

The White Paper contains ambitious targets – to halve homelessness and offer accommodation to all rough sleepers who seek it by 2020.

The White Paper provides an additional $1.2 billion over four years – a 55 per cent increase in investment in homelessness and a substantial down payment on a twelve year reform agenda.

This includes a commitment of $800 million over the next four years for new support services for homeless people and $400 million over the next two financial years for social housing, to house the homeless.

The Government is also investing $6.4 billion to build 20,000 social housing dwellings across Australia as part of the Nation Building Economic Stimulus Plan.

This investment provides more affordable housing to people who need it the most, also providing much-needed stimulus to the building and construction industry.

The construction component of the Nation Building Economic Stimulus Plan has been estimated by Treasury to support 15,000 jobs nationally over the next two years.