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After crisis accommodation: Are ‘foyers’ the key to fixing youth homelessness?


ABC News


Arianna Lucente


Riley is visiting a communal living facility that houses 40 residents – all aged between 16 and 24 – specifically designed to help people who are at risk of, or who are experiencing, homelessness.

Advocates say it’s the kind of accommodation Australia sorely needs, with rental vacancy rates falling below one per cent in some big cities, and with more than 40,000 younger Australians needing to access homelessness services each year.

How does a ‘youth foyer’ work?

People who live in a ‘youth foyer’ can stay for up to two years, and the Foyer Foundation says demand is far outstripping supply.

At a youth foyer, each resident gets their own unit with a kitchenette and bathroom, and there are communal areas including a full-sized kitchen, living and entertainment zone, a shared laundry, an art room, and an outdoor area with a barbecue and greenery.

There are a number of other support services available to help young people get back on their feet, ranging from life skills development, mental and physical health services, and drug and alcohol support to mentoring and employment assistance.

Phoebe says mental health referrals is also a key service that residents access.

“It’s all well and good to put somebody in a house, but if they don’t have the skills to maintain that … if they’re not mentally in a space where they’re able to take that on, it’s not going to last very long. And I’ve seen that working in crisis accommodation.”

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