The ‘Recharge Conference’, organised by Y Foundations and held on August 7th, was a chance to re-energise the conversation on youth homelessness. The two day program included presentations from nationwide peak services and agencies involved in working with vulnerable youth affected by homelessness. STARTTS’ Training Officer, Belinda Green was invited to speak about the needs and experiences of refugee young people.
According to the Refugee Council of Australia young people from refugee backgrounds are 6 times more likely to face homelessness than other youth. 50% of the 19.5 million worldwide registered refugees are 18 years old or less (UNHCR Global Trends 2014).
Belinda focused on raising awareness about the forms of violence, deprivation and loss experienced by these young people and for the audience to re-consider public perceptions on asylum seekers and refugees. Belinda spoke particularly about the specific barriers that refugee young people face in securing housing. These include:
• financial hardship
• lack of appropriate accommodation
• difficulties navigating the private rental market
• a lack of social and community capital, and
• the impact of family separation and breakdown
Additionally, Belinda discussed how the trauma faced by STARTTS clients amplifies many of these barriers. These challenges are important to note, as they have implications far beyond just finding satisfactory housing, but also for successful settlement into the wider fabric of society.
Participants congratulated Belinda and STARTTS for their insight and specialist knowledge on working effectively with refugee young people. Some of the audience made plans to book further trainings with STARTTS’ while others enquired about what they could do to further assist refugee young people.
If you’d like to find out about other training on offer at STARTTS, visit our Training page.