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Youth Homelessness Requires Dedicated Resourcing

child building blocks 24 April 2024

Over the past year alone, Melbourne City Mission (MCM) youth homelessness programs have supported 64 children aged 0 to 5, alongside their young parents, to navigate the challenges of homelessness. Shockingly, half of these children were newborns, facing the prospect of celebrating multiple birthdays within the homeless system.

Sally Richter, Manager of Family Services at MCM says that the negative impacts that youth homelessness brings to bear on young children and young parents is a critical issue that demands more attention.

Despite these alarming statistics, the youth homelessness system lacks a dedicated response to ensure the safety, wellbeing, and developmental needs of these children are adequately met. It's a clear gap that has been overlooked, leaving these young ones at risk.

“At MCM, we've taken proactive steps to address this issue head-on,” Richter said. “Thanks to generous philanthropic funding, we've been able to employ an early childhood expert to work with children in our youth refuges. This dedicated worker possesses a profound understanding of the unique needs of children growing up without stable housing.”

MCM’s focus extends beyond basic necessities like nutrition and physical care. Priority is given to addressing the trauma these children have experienced due to homelessness and the circumstances surrounding their situation. By providing holistic support, MCM strives to mitigate the long-term impacts of homelessness on their lives.

Richter goes on to say that their efforts cannot stand alone. “We're advocating for a dedicated resource within the youth homelessness system to ensure every child receives the support they need to thrive. Together, with young parents, we aim to break intergenerational cycles of trauma and disadvantage, creating a brighter future for all.”

ABC News: More than 43,000 kids under 10 seek homeless support a year – what's being done for them?

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