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Reconnecting young people to break the cycle of homelessness



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Mark Butler

MINISTER ASSISTING THE PRIME MINISTER ON MENTAL HEALTH REFORM

Media Release by The Hon Mark Butler MP

Reconnecting young people to break the cycle of homelessness 7 February 2013

Joint Media Release with:

 The Hon Mark Butler MP Minister for Mental Health and Ageing Minister for Housing and Homelessness Minister for Social Inclusion Minister Assisting the Prime Minister on Mental Health Reform

 THE Hon Melissa Parke MP Parliamentary Secretary for Mental Health Parliamentary Secretary for Homelessness and Social Housing

The Gillard Government will invest $73 million over three years to help vulnerable young

people break the cycle of homelessness.

Minister for Housing and Homelessness Mark Butler said the funding will support more than

100 Reconnect services across Australia until June 2016.

“This funding provides certainty to 30 specialist services which assist Indigenous Australians,

newly arrived youth, people struggling with mental health issues, and young LGBTI

Australians,” Mr Butler said.

“Reconnect services help some of our most vulnerable young people get their lives back on

track, avoid homelessness and in many cases move out of homelessness and into secure

accommodation.”

“The funding will ensure important supports continue to be provided including counselling,

mediation, group work and practical support for young people and their families.”

“Sadly, family breakdown is a major cause of homelessness for young people, and that’s why

Reconnect services have a strong focus on helping families build stronger relationships and

resolve conflict.”

Ms Parke said an independent evaluation of the program last year reported it was consistently

successful in improving the lives of young people who are homeless or at risk of

homelessness.

“Since 2000, Reconnect has helped more than 67,000 young people work their way back

from homelessness, including more than 5,700 in 2011-12 alone,” Ms Parke said.

“About 90 per cent of these young people getting individualised supports through the

program said their situation had improved, and the risk of homelessness had reduced for

almost three-quarters.”

“Tens of thousands of young people who could have ended up on the streets have instead

been helped to stabilise their lives, move back with their families, or continue their education

or training.”

Mr Butler said most of the recommendations of the evaluation would be implemented straight

away to further improve outcomes under the program.

“Without a secure home, people struggle to find and keep jobs or stay in training or

education, or to keep their kids in school, and that’s why this government has made

homelessness a national priority,” Mr Butler said.

“We are committed to halving homelessness by 2020, and have invested an unprecedented

$20 billion in housing and homelessness services and programs since 2007.”

The independent evaluation is available online at www.fahcsia.gov.au/our-responsibilities/housing-support/publications-articles/homelessness-youth