NSW Government announces new funding for homeless youth after publication of evaluation findings

Unaccompanied 12 to 15-year olds experiencing homelessness are an extremely vulnerable group who have traditionally had few service options for support in New South Wales. The Homeless Youth Assistance Program (HYAP), a $54 million, six-year initiative from the Department of Communities and Justice (DCJ), aims to reunify children and young people with their families and broader support networks, or enable this group to transition to longer-term supported accommodation.

An evaluation consortium led by CEI with partners Monash University and the Behavioural Insights Team used a hybrid effectiveness-implementation evaluation design to examine the effectiveness of the HYAP model. The evaluation findings are available here

In an article in the Illawarra Mercury on October 23 2020, reproduced below, the NSW government announced new funding for homeless youth:  

NSW Government announces new funding for homeless youth, as Illawarra-based agency welcomes a new report that says more action is needed to support homeless young people in NSW

An Illawarra-based charity has welcomed a new report that suggests more progress is needed to support homeless children and young people in NSW.

A new NSW Ombudsman's report shows that 2588 children aged between 12 and 15 presented on their own to a refuge somewhere in NSW in 2018-19, without a parent or guardian.

Acting NSW Ombudsman Paul Miller said children who presented alone to homelessness services needed the highest level of care and support - more than just shelter.

The report was gauging the Department of Communities and Justice's progress in dealing with the problems previously identified in the Ombudsman's 2018 report, and found the recommendations of that report - which it accepted - had not been implemented.

The report said whether those unaccompanied homeless children were receiving the necessary support was unclear. Southern Youth and Family Services CEO Narelle Clay said children and young people who present, alone, to homelessness services or find themselves unable to live with family are on the streets or living in other inappropriate situations, and are extremely vulnerable.

"They should receive the highest level of care and support," she said.

"We absolutely have to do better.'

Read the case study

Read the full report