De-stigmatising youth homelessness
A LOCAL high school was leading the way in raising awareness around youth homelessness as they team up with Social Futures ahead of Youth Homelessness Matters Day.
A group of Trinity Catholic College students are using the national campaign on April 18 to mobilise and encourage friends and classmates to undertake their own fund-raising events and initiatives to help local young people who are homeless.
Year 11 student Maddie Gill said having the conversation about youth homelessness is really important to help recognise it and not sectionalise people off into groups society feels they belong in.
"It's not something we talk about a lot here and I feel like it needs to be put out into the open so much more than it has been,” Miss Gill said.
"I feel like now is a really good time to get it out into Trinity and get everyone talking about it, donating and everything because it is a really good cause.”
Miss Gill hopes this campaign will help her fellow classmates to start focusing on youth homelessness on a local scale.
"In Lismore it is one of the highest rates of homelessness anywhere in Australia,” she said.
"I feel if we get money into it and get it going, there can be more emergency housing and more resources.
"Even just donating toothpaste, food or deodorant can really help people.”
Money raised will be donated to The Connecting Home Youth Program and will be used for emergency accommodation costs, living skills programs and basic needs including food, clothing and personal care items.
Social Futures' Youth Homelessness Case Manager Jessie Wilkes said to compliment this the Connecting Home Youth Team will be working with local high schools across the region, holding information sessions on youth homelessness.
"The outcome of that hopefully will be to inspire young people to be active and motivated in helping other young people in this reason that might be facing homelessness,” Ms Wilkes said.
"(And) I'd like to see young people with more tools for handling the issue.”
The initiative with Trinity College started last year when they made a video called You Can Ask That.
"We've been engaged with Trinity school around this issue and they're very active and keen to help out,” Ms Wilkes said.
"Since then we have created a lesson plan to go into schools and teach young people about youth homelessness.”
Ms Wilkes said she hopes the lessons will help de-stigmatise youth homelessness and make students more aware of the causes of it.
"There is a lot of stigmatisation around all homelessness to think that young person or homeless adult has drug issues,” she said.
"But what we know from out work is that most young people are homeless because of family breakdowns and domestic violence.”