Shock findings: More than 4500 youths left homeless
YOUNG adults without social and economic support are destined to fail, and are at great risk of becoming homeless, Queensland researchers say.
The Queensland Family and Child Commission met with key stakeholders yesterday on the Sunshine Coast to discuss the latest research into youth homelessness.
The forum addressed ways to prevent homelessness in children and youths.
University of Queensland associate professor Cameron Parsell said the cost of housing of the Sunshine Coast made it almost impossible for some young adults to find.
"People on the Coast know housing is unaffordable for young people, but for those without family support, finding a home is a fluke," Prof Parsell said.
"There are no processes or systems in place for these young adults to gain access to housing that is decent, affordable and that they feel safe in.
"Being in foster care can disadvantage you for life."
Youth homelessness refers to young people aged between 12 and 24, either sleeping rough, listed as refugees or in hostels or couch-surfing.
According to the 2016 Census, 4454 young people in that age bracket were homeless. Not included are those "hidden", drifting from household to household.
Homelessness Australia said the number of under-24s without a roof over their heads was closer to 8000.
UQ PhD candidate Madonna Boman said support was cut off for out-of-home youths once they reached 18.
"Why we cut off support at 18 needs to be addressed. They need that extra support with education and to get jobs," Ms Boman said.
"Foster care is the largest predictor of being homeless. If we can't help them their poor life will continue."
USC associate professor Phil Crane said kids without economic and social support were "highly vulnerable".
He said one of the challenges facing the Coast was not continuing the support for youths once placed into care.
"The often rely on staying with friends or acquaintances. There is a lot of transient moving around," he said.
"We tend to place a young adult in care and think they're now OK. But most are just hanging in there. The support needs to continue.
"Being in foster care can disadvantage them for life but it shouldn't. Foster care kids can be optimistic. It is not a death sentence."