Youth homelessness is a prevalent and evident issue in Australia. Youth Homelessness Matters Day recently took place in order to bring awareness to the large issues surrounding young people who don’t have homes in Australia.
Third Sector spoke with Jason Juretic, CEO of Stepping Stone House, to tell us more about youth homelessness and the work that his organisation does.
1. What is Stepping Stone House?
Established in 1989, Stepping Stone House (SSH) is a not for profit organisation providing medium to long term accommodation and development for young people who are homeless, or who are at risk of homelessness or are living away from their families aged 12 to 24 years old.
Within SSH, they develop their self-esteem, resilience, self-confidence and good health so that they become independent and fulfil their potential.
2. Why is youth homelessness such a prevalent issue in Australia?
Youth homelessness is becoming an increasingly prevalent issue in Australia due to a myriad of reasons, but primarily due to increased rental costs and a lack of parental skills and support.
3. What does your organisation do to prevent this issue?
SSH prevents this issue by delivering secure accommodation up to a young person’s 25th birthday, with programs designed to develop their Life Skills together with their emotional and financial Independence.
First and foremost, we aid young people in finding their sense of purpose and forming a compelling future for themselves. Then we assist them in identifying limiting beliefs and setting life goals for themselves.
Our accommodation is offered to 18-year olds with an agreement that they will attend our workshops and programs to aid them in securing employment within 6 months.
We also deliver a combination of therapeutic care, life skills development and motivational experiential learning including adventure education in the wilderness to give them space away from technology to be themselves and grow.
Lastly we partner our young people with a trained mentor and role model so that they have a significant adult in their life that they can turn to after they graduate from SSH.
4. What can we do to prevent this issue?
You – the public – can assist homeless and at risk youth in many ways, including attending our fundraising events such as Sleep under the Stars (this October), donating to SSH or becoming one of our devoted and amazing volunteers who help with anything from event management, through to tutoring our youth or teaching them to drive.
5. Why is Youth Homelessness Matters Day so important?
Youth Homeless Matters Day is important as it raises public awareness of an issue that should not even exist in Australia “the lucky country”. Let’s unite and take action to prevent this increasingly significant issue happening in our own back yard.
This article was first published in Third Sector.