2019: The Youth Homelessness Action Plan

YACWA is proud to launch the Youth Homelessness Action Plan (The Plan). This document sits under the Western Australian Alliance to End Homelessness's 10 Year Strategy to End Homelessness and aims to galvanise the community to carry out the collective action needed to improve outcomes for young people currently experiencing homelessness and to prevent it for future generations.

The experience of homelessness amongst young people differs from that of adults. On any given night in Australia 116,427 Australians are homeless. 27,680 of these are young people aged 12-24 years. This is why in its strategy, the Western Australian Alliance to End Homelessness (WAAEH) identified the need for The Plan to address youth homelessness. Hosted by YACWA, a design team was formed and commenced the development of this action plan. The design team consists of: youth members of the Youth Homelessness Advisory Council (HYAC) who have lived experiences of homelessness, a group of  diverse professionals from a range of organisations but united by a shared interest to end youth homelessness, plus a small design squad who have worked together to facilitate the process.

Throughout April and June 2019, the team came together for several workshops where they followed a co-design process to co-develop a youth-specific action plan. The group used various design tools like ‘system maps,’ ‘journey maps,’ and ‘future narratives’ to empathise, discover, analyse and gain new insights together. One key highlight of the design process was the “Service Safari,” where members of the HYAC group rode the Street Connect bus and visited a range of organisations that provide services to youth experiencing homelessness. HYAC reported their findings back to the larger design team who included their insights in the formation of the action plan.  As well as contributing directly to the formation of an action plan, the HYAC group have also benefited from being part of the co-design process itself. A number of the HYAC team have developed strong bonds with each other that have helped to prevent them becoming homeless again.

The Plan is specifically tailored to addressing the needs of young people experiencing homelessness, not only those in crisis but as a holistic attempt to prevent and end youth homelessness in Western Australia. If we invest early enough, we can break the cycle for young people before it manifests into chronic homelessness that becomes entrenched well into adulthood.

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