Young Family Homelessness
Vulnerable Children & Young People
Census a chance to show the truth about homelessness epidemic
For the first time ever the 2011 Census will collect comprehensive data on the numbers of homeless people in Australia.
UnitingCare Burnside welcomes this initiative, applauding the chance to get better data on an issue that is often ignored. Homelessness and its causes, such as domestic violence, abuse and neglect and poverty, make it difficult for young parents to provide their children with safety and stability. This causes unnecessary hardships for children and for young parents. What we know from our work with young people is that homelessness also disconnects children and young people from education, employment and community. This can have damaging effects into the future as it disrupts early development.
“Existing data has chronically underestimated the numbers of young people experiencing homelessness in Australia. Homelessness has a devastating impact on people’s life chances. It is vital that we get a true picture of the numbers of people it impacts” says Karen Bevan, Director of Social Justice for UnitingCare Burnside.
“Many of the people UnitingCare Burnside works with are actually young families that are homeless. Young people who have children of their own.
“What we don’t know is how many young families there are out there – anecdotally, we know it’s a lot, but the data’s not there.
“If we are to work with Government to make a real impact on this vicious cycle of intergenerational disadvantage we need a true picture of how big the issue is. To get Government to sit up and take notice we need the numbers. We need the numbers to get the supports right. To ensure the basics like enough specialist homeless services are provided. We are hoping the Census will help bring some clarity” explains Karen Bevan.
This year, The Australian Bureau of Statistics is targeting people rough sleeping or sleeping in emergency or unsafe accommodation that wouldn’t have received a visit from Census workers last time round. They are also working with homelessness services to ensure that young people experiencing homelessness know how to fill out their census form.
This is a vital push, and UnitingCare Burnside welcomes a renewed focus on homelessness and has begun a conversation about how we want to support the most vulnerable children and young people in our communities. We invite you to Get Involved.