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Community sector alliance calls on Federal Election candidates to take the pledge to end youth homelessness

Youth2 Alliance in Frankston and the Mornington Peninsula including community sector organisations Youth Support and Advocacy Service (YSAS), Whitelion, Fusion Australia, Melbourne City Mission, Southern Homelessness Services Network, Brotherhood of St Lawrence and Neami National have developed a Federal Election Pledge asking candidates in the marginal Victorian electorates of Dunkley and Flinders to end youth homelessness and build and operate youth crisis accommodation locally in Frankston and Rosebud.

The COVID-19 pandemic has hit the youth and community service sector hard. In the Frankston and Mornington Peninsula regions, there has been a significant increase of 50% in the rate that young people (390) aged 15-25 (without dependents) have requested assistance with securing crisis housing. Frankston and the Mornington Peninsula are two of the sixth worst Local Government Area’s in Victoria, with homeless residents, sleeping rough every night. Due to the lack of local crisis accommodation options, young people are forced to travel 2.5 hours one way journey on public transport, to an unknown place in Highett, Dandenong, or potentially much further for somewhere to sleep.

Andrew Bruun, YSAS CEO and Chair of the Youth2 Alliance said that elected officials and Federal Election candidates who represent some of Melbourne’s most marginal seats have a clear role to play in addressing the social parity issue faced by young people and families living in Frankston and the Mornington Peninsula without secure housing.

“We have a shared responsibility to provide shelter for any young person who needs it. It’s critical that we keep young people connected to their local support networks so they can stick with school, know who their trusted people are and maintain a sense of belonging.

“Many teenagers and adolescents are forced to flee their homes and travel far distances just to seek urgent shelter and during the pandemic the rate of help seekers for crisis accommodation increased by fifty percent. It’s not acceptable that young people in Frankston and the Mornington Peninsula are separated from their local community and support networks” Bruun said.

The Youth2 Alliance is in Frankston today asking Federal candidates in Dunkley and Flinders to:

  1. Commit to advocating for youth-specific crisis accommodation in the Frankston and Mornington Peninsula regions, and
  2. Commit to working actively with local community service organisations, lived experience advocates and Local and State Governments to end youth homelessness in Frankston and the Mornington Peninsula.

All Federal Election candidates, Members of Victorian State Parliament and Local Government Councillors have been invited. Peta Murphy Australian Labor Party candidate for Dunkley Sharn Coombes, Liberal Party of Australia candidate for Dunkley, Colin Lane, Australian Greens candidate for Flinders, Sarah Russell, Independent candidate for Flinders, Surbhi Snowball, Australian Labor Party candidate Flinders, Paul Edbrooke, Victorian Labor State Member for Frankston and the Mayor of Mornington Peninsula Shire, Cr Anthony Marsh and Deputy Mayor of Frankston City Council, Suzette Tayler have confirmed their attendance or support.

About YSAS (Youth Support + Advocacy Service)

The Youth Support + Advocacy Service (YSAS) is Australia’s largest, youth-specific community service organisation. Operating since 1998 as Victoria’s flagship Youth Alcohol and Other Drug service, YSAS now employs over 370 skilled staff across 19 sites in metropolitan and regional Victoria. While the prime focus of YSAS remains on effective Youth AOD treatment and sector leadership, the organisation also has extensive experience in providing young people and families with services that support improved mental health and improve meaningful community participation.

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