Homeless Vic youth missing out on school


Three-quarters of young homeless Victorians are not enrolled in school or other training, according to new data.

According to the service, only 14 per cent of 15 to 19 year olds who have logged on to Melbourne City Mission’s national service in the past year have signed up for classes.

Another 13% were related to other training, according to data released Thursday.

“Children and youth deserve a home and an education,” the mission’s policy and advocacy officer, Shorna Moore, told AAP.

“They shouldn’t have to choose, but unfortunately that’s the current situation in Victoria.”

She said most young homeless students are fleeing domestic violence.

Some 92.5% of 15-24 year olds accessing mission services reported having mental health issues, while 58.65% have an existing diagnosis.

“These young people who are too old for child protection and too young for adult services are falling through the gaps in the system,” Ms Moore said.

“They’re cycling with very few options to get out of homelessness.”

There were more than 8,800 young people looking for medium to long-term accommodation in Victoria last year, but some 5,000 teenagers missed out on a property.

The Melbourne City Mission and the Council to Homeless Persons are calling on the next Victorian government to develop a strategy for homeless youth.

Council chief executive Jenny Smith said the strategy should include 5,000 social housing units that can accommodate young people with varying needs.

Labor has told homeless services they will consider providing more social housing, while the coalition and the Greens have promised to develop a youth strategy.

“You’d still like firmer commitments, but that’s clearly on the radar,” Ms Smith told AAP.

“It goes without saying that we are investing in our future, which is what these very vulnerable young people represent.”

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