Government funding for a program that helped house people leaving Hobart’s Risdon Prison was removed. Picture: iSTOCK
Government funding for a program that helped house people leaving Hobart’s Risdon Prison was removed. Picture: iSTOCK

Toowoomba CEO slams 'unacceptable' youth homeless issue

THE CEO of support organisation YellowBridge has called for the Toowoomba community to fix the "unacceptable" situation of youth homelessness.

CEO Penny Hamilton said there was enough proof that teenagers battling homelessness could achieve great things if given shelter and support.

"Youth homelessness isn't as complexed as adult homelessness," she explained.

"It's about getting them safe and educated and then a high percentage can do well.

"They are never homeless by choice, it's always an untenable situation in their home life.

"We know that intervention works and that if you can get to them, you can reintegrate them."

Ms Hamilton said the shocking undersupply of shelter for youths needed to be fixed by the Toowoomba community, not just government funding.

"The current situation is there are 128 people under 18 in Toowoomba who are homeless," she said.

"We currently have 11 available spaces (at two facilities).

"I think it's an unacceptable situation that we allow this to happen to our young people."

Ms Hamilton said she wanted to get as many stakeholders together for a summit that could lead to tangible outcomes and actions.

"What I wasn't looking for was a talk-fest. It's great to talk, but commitment is needed," she said.

"Government funding is limited and you can't rely on the government. We've got to have a community response."

"I think Toowoomba is innovative and prosperous enough to address this one issue."

For more information about how to be involved, contact pennyh@yellowbridgeqld.com.au.



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