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“I was scared, I hadn’t slept on the streets before, it was exhausting always looking for someone’s house to stay at”.

After she fled her violent father, Emma spent her teens sleeping on couches, and moving among family and friends who had troubles of their own.

When her networks were exhausted, a homelessness service found her safe accommodation and gave her the support she needed to get her confidence back and reconnect with education.

“Having my own place is amazing, I am now working towards my future. I am rebuilding relationships with my family and setting goals for myself”.

Now at 23, Emma has a place of her own and is studying. She has a bright future to look forward to.

But many young people never get the chance to make a home base.

If they can’t live at home and are out of work, their income is so low they can’t afford rentals. And it can take years to get a place in social housing.

While they are homeless, young people are vulnerable to violence and sexual exploitation, have incredibly high rates of mental distress, and often find it impossible to stay in school.

The harm to their health and learning affects their whole future. The longer young people are homeless the higher their risk of suicide, or long term unemployment and poor health.

But the Federal Government has the power to end this.

So today, on Youth Homelessness Matters Day, we’re urging you to take action.

Can you sign our petition to Minister for Education and Youth, Alan Tudge, to tell him young people who are homeless need:

  • Adequate income support to afford rent.
  • Access to social housing.
  • Support to recover from homelessness and to connect with education.