Creating a future without youth homelessness

Youth Disadvantage, Housing and the 2016 Census Data 

Todays census data release does not include information specifically gathered about youth homelessness. None the less Yfoundations observes relevant data relating to some of the manny issues adjacent to youth homelessness. Todays census data release specifically highlights dysfunctions in the housing market and it’s continuing failure to meet the needs of many young people from disadvantaged backgrounds.

Yfoundations notes several key points:

  • The number of households paying more than 30% of their income in rent has increased by around 145,000 since the last census.
  • Number of unoccupied dwellings breaches 1 million.
  • Attendance at technical or further education institutions is down from 7.3% in 2011 to only 5.9% in 2016.

The proportion of households who are renting has increased since that last census, and is now at 30.9%. This likely reflects the increasing unaffordability of home ownership and indicates growing demand, and therefore growing competition, in the rental market. Despite this, the proportion of dwellings that are unoccupied has increased to 11.2% – just over one million unoccupied dwellings. Increasing demand is not resulting in more efficient use of existing supply, indicating a dysfunctional housing market that requires intervention.
Median rents have also increased, but particularly worrying is the increase in households where the rent payments are greater than 30% of income. This is a very approximate measure of rental stress, but the trend is concerning. An increase from 10.4% in 2011 to 11.5% in 2016, represents around 145,000 additional households who are paying more than 30% of their income in rent.
The census data also highlights problems in another area important to young people from disadvantaged backgrounds; the vocational education and training (VET) sector. TAFEs and other VET providers play an essential role in providing education to the disadvantaged. Cuts and reforms across a number of states are reflected in the significant drop in attendance at technical or further education institutions; down from 7.3% in 2011 to only 5.9% in 2016. A drop of close to 50,000 students despite a rising population over that time.
Do we have any recommendations?
Without government investment in rental affordability schemes and re-investing in the vocation education system, disadvantaged young people will continue to be locked out of secure housing and opportunities for meaningful work.

Census data specifically relating to youth homelessness is expected to be released latter in 2017. 

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