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Ending youth homelessness is everyone’s business 

Last week was Youth Homelessness Matters Day – and it should matter to you. 

Did you know, between 2022–23, almost 39,000 young people aged 15 – 24 presented alone at homelessness services across Australia? Almost half of these young people were experiencing mental health issues and over one third had experienced family and domestic violence.

Sadly, half of the young people trying to find a safe place to sleep were turned away because services didn’t have enough beds. And, these statistics only represent the young people who had the knowledge and ability to contact a homelessness service. So many more are hidden – couch surfing, sleeping in their cars or on the streets.  

So, what is Youth Homelessness Matters Day?

As part of Youth Week 2024 (11 – 21 April), Youth Homelessness Matters Day on 17 April highlights the issues of youth homelessness across Australia and calls on communities and governments to take action. 

Since it was first held in 1990, Youth Homelessness Matters Day has grown into a national day of recognition, celebrating the resilience of young people and advocating for sustainable and innovative solutions to youth homelessness. 

“Wesley Mission operates youth homelessness services in Sydney’s Inner West, along the Mid North Coast and Coffs Harbour,” says Meena, Program Manager at Specialist Homelessness Services Youth in Coffs Harbour. 
“As well as accommodation support, we offer a range of support services in each region to help young people facing homelessness or other hardships. 
“It’s critically important we all better understand the causes of youth homelessness and the realities of life for young people who don’t have a safe place to call home – higher instances of mental illness and psychological distress, poor physical health, higher risk of substance abuse, disengagement with education and reduced employment opportunities. 
“These all have a lasting impact and prevent young people from reaching their full potential.” 

On Youth Homelessness Matters Day, Meena organised a flash mob in Coffs Harbour city centre, where over 40 community services workers and advocates danced the ‘Macarena’ to demonstrate our commitment to ending youth homelessness. Watch the video… 

How can you help end youth homelessness?

Sign the petition for a National Child and Youth Homelessness and Housing Plan.

Share your voice online and share content from organisations fighting youth homelessness.  

Donate today to give young people experiencing homelessness a safe place to sleep.

From a young age, Zach was without a safe and stable home, spending much of his childhood in out-of-home care. Then he met Sharna at a refuge and together they decided to build a brighter future. 

After spending time in transitional housing and couch surfing, Zach and Sharna were offered Supported Independent Living accommodation with Wesley Mission. As well as a variety of wraparound services to help them grow their independence, build life skills, continue their education and secure stable employment.   

Then came the greatest gift of all, their daughter Willow. 

“It’s been a pleasure to watch this little family grow,” says John, Zach and Sharna’s case manager. “From move in day as a couple of unsure teens, to now mum and dad of the very cheeky Willow, there’s been plenty of ups and downs, but I couldn’t be more proud to have worked with these guys.” 

Read Zach and Sharna’s full story   

If you or someone you know needs support, visit or call (02) 6652 7124. 

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