Swinburne study investigates youth homelessness in Yarra Ranges Shire

Tuesday 15 July 2014

A low angle photograph of Swinburne University of Technology signage on the Advanced Technologies Centre building in Hawthorn.

Secondary schools in the Yarra Ranges Shire are being urged to take part in a study on early intervention measures to prevent young people becoming homeless.

Swinburne University of Technology, Anchor Inc and Outer Eastern LLEN, along with other partners have joined forces to tackle the growing issue of youth homelessness in the area.

Nich Rogers, Anchor Youth and Community manager, said the research will shed light on the impact of education and what local agencies and schools can do together to better support students at risk.

“This research and building relationships with local schools will play a crucial role in preventing homelessness and ensuring kids have a safe place to sleep at night.

“Providing early support can significantly improve the health and education of young people at risk, and reduce costs and later demand for intensive services,” Mr Rogers said.

The research aims to encourage increased collaboration between schools and support agencies, equipping them with the information needed to understand early stage homelessness and provide a more accessible and ‘youth friendly’ service to vulnerable students.

A key focus of Anchor’s prevention and early intervention services is engaging young people, parents and schools to address issues early before home life breaks down and before they leave other key supports in their life, such as school. 

Working with Anchor is Swinburne researcher and psychologist Dr Monica Thielking, who highlights the prevalence of youth homelessness in the Yarra Ranges Shire.

“Over the past 12 months a total of 839 local young people (16-25 years) and their dependent children presented as homeless or at risk of being homeless to Anchor’s Opening Doors emergency accommodation service and Anchor’s Youth Case Management Services in Lilydale.

“I am saddened by the number of young people who have found themselves in such desperate circumstances,” Dr Thielking said.

Sixty-five per cent of young people who present to agencies leave school before completing Year 10.

Mr Rogers said there is effective help available to intervene early to support students, schools and their families.

“We would love to enrich our relationships with schools so young people who are vulnerable can access the support they need.”

If you are a school in the Yarra Ranges Shire interested in taking part please contact:

Anchor Program Contact:                                                             

Nich Rogers                                                                                           
Youth and Community Manager                                                       
Anchor Youth Services                                                                       
Email: nich.rogers@anchor.org.au                                                 
Mobile: 0404 808 452