Developing models of good practice in meeting the needs of homeless young people in rural areas

Developing models of good practice in meeting the needs of homeless young people in rural areas

This Final Report presents the outcomes of a research into models of good practice in meeting the needs of homeless young people in rural areas of Australia. The research had a number of specific objectives which can be simplified to three key questions: first, what can we learn from the international and national literature about innovative models for meeting the needs of homeless young people in rural areas? Second, which State and Australian Government policies impinge upon the needs of homeless young people in rural areas? Third, what are the experiences of homeless young people in rural areas and how do they differ from those in urban areas? The report shows that young people living in rural areas face many of the challenges confronting urban youth, but are also distinguished by a number of factors that make their experiences of homelessness distinctive. Homeless young people in rural areas are differentiated from those living in urban regions because: • It is often extremely difficult to find employment as a young person living in the country. Labour markets are ‘thin’ and a premium is placed on experience that young people lack; • Many parts of non-metropolitan Australia are marked by tight rental housing markets and young people find it difficult to gain access to the housing stock; • Young people in rural areas may suffer from inter-generational discrimination, based on the ‘reputation’ of their families. This may be a particular challenge for young Indigenous Australians; • There are few services in rural areas for homeless young people and those that are available tend to be concentrated in the larger regional centres; • Non-metropolitan communities may be less accepting of difference – such as race or sexuality – than those in the capital cities; • There is a strongly developed sense of community amongst many homeless young people. They value their friendship and support networks and place considerable priority on staying within a physical environment with which they are familiar.

PUBLICATION DATE: 2005
LOCATION: Australia