Gladstone homeless rate alarming

YOUNG homelessness in Gladstone is increasing at an alarming rate, according to Roseberry House manager Kim Schinkel.

Ms Schinkel said the Roseberry House community centre recorded a 20 per cent increase of homeless youth in Gladstone for the 2009/10 year.

“In 2008/09, 69 young people accessed our services compared to 85 in 2009/10,” Ms Schinkel said.

“The majority is the 15 to 16 year old group and it is a significant rise for the size of the Gladstone community.

Ms Schinkel said there has been an increase in night stays.

“We had 319 bed nights in 2008/09 and that has jumped up to 986 in the 2009/10 year, which means they’re staying longer and receiving more case management.”

The number of homeless young people was down in all states and territories except Western Australia in 2009/10.

Overall, the rate of homelessness across the country decreased from 14 cases per 1000 of the youth population to 11 cases per 1000.

Ms Schinkel said in Gladstone a lot of youth homelessness is due to family breakdown and domestic violence.

“There is no affordable accommodation in Gladstone for young people,” Ms Schinkel said.

“Some stay with friends but that’s not sustainable. We work through support plans to get them back into school with help from youth support co-ordinators.”

Youth Support Worker Lea Sycamore said Roseberry House is a valuable service, but unfortunately it is not enough.

“A lot of young people have nowhere else to go so it’s difficult because they can only stay so long at Roseberry House,” Ms Sycamore said.

“Some of these young people are in abusive family relationships and they need for their own safety to get out, but there is nowhere for them to go because of their age.”



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