South Australian teens as young as 15 are couch-surfing or staying in homes where they feel unsafe because welfare services are unable to find them alternative housing. Source: Sunday Mail.
In some cases, school counsellors or parents of teenagers, where family relationships are breaking down, are reaching out for help, but there are no properties or beds available.
And there are fears the end of JobKeeper payments will worsen the situation.
Centacare youth homelessness service manager Tracy Ingram said the situation was as bad as she had seen in two decades working in the sector.
Ms Ingram said young people faced a bottleneck because there were few accommodation options amid tough competition for private rental properties and long waiting lists for public or community housing. She said staff tried to find solutions, but often had to tell teens, “Right now there’s no bed for you”.
In February, The Advertiser revealed up to 20 renters were applying for each advertised rental property.
Expats returning from interstate and overseas amid the COVID-19 pandemic and landlords taking advantage of government stimulus funding to do renovations were adding to the squeeze.
Ms Ingram said more public housing is “absolutely” needed and she called for an increase to the Youth Allowance payment.
As part of a $20m Homelessness Prevention Fund, the State Government recently allocated $2.3 million to build 51 relocatable granny-flat homes for people aged 25 or younger.
They will be available late this year and placed in the backyards of overcrowded households where young people are at risk of prematurely leaving home.
Lack of housing leaving South Australian teens in cold: Centacare (By Lauren Novak, Sunday Mail)