By Steff Willis
Main Image: Your daggy jumper can make a difference to homeless youth (supplied). Listen: Brisbane Youth Service CEO Annemarie Callander talks with Steff Willis about Daggy Jumper Day and how they’re tackling youth homelessness.
On any given night, 4454 young Queenslanders have no safe place to sleep. It’s an alarming statistic that might take you by surprise, but even more when you realise that 40 per cent of Brisbane’s homeless community are under 25.
When we think of the issue of Homelessness in Queensland, we don’t often think of those aged 12-25 however the amount of young people experiencing homelessness is significant, and increasing.
“Part of the reason that it’s not well understood in the community is because the way many young people experience homelessness is through couch surfing, so it can be quite hidden,” Brisbane Youth Service CEO Annemarie Callander said.
“Many of the kinds of images of homelessness we see in Australia are often associated with older people who are rough sleeping but in reality, young people under 25 make up over 40% of the homeless population, some of that is children in families that are experiencing homelessness but much of it is young people aged 12-25 who are actually homeless and on their own.”
She told me that they’re seeing a 60 per cent increase in calls for support. COVID is definitely having an impact due to loss of employment and the casual nature of work for young people but that’s not the only reason for youth homelessness.
“The reality is that family breakdown and family conflict is a really major contributor for young people, that includes issues around family and domestic violence.”
“More than half the young people that we see, nearly as high as 70 per cent, have come from families where there’s been experience of domestic and family violence and they’ve opted to remove themselves from that situation where they don’t feel safe.
“There’s other bigger structural issues as well. The level of unemployment, the unaffordability of housing for young people and those who are living on income support are living well below the poverty line.”
Brisbane Youth Service are working hard to decrease Youth Homelessness through their housing services and events like Daggy Jumper Day.
“Housing is pivotal. Once young people are able to move out of crisis and into stable housing then our support is focused on helping them sustain that housing but also addressing the other issues that might be going on for them whether that’s issues around family conflict, their own mental health and helping them to start to look forward and think about engaging in employment, education and training.”
Wednesday August 25 is Daggy Jumper Day where you can don your old and daggy jumper, gather with workmates, and raise funds and awareness for the work of Brisbane Youth Service.