A new initiative aimed at keeping at risk and homeless young people safe and out of trouble is being rolled out on the Gold Coast, along with the development of a specialised youth housing service in Southport.
The initiative, dubbed Street CRED (Collaborate, Re-Engage, Empower and Deter) was launched by Police Minister Mark Ryan at Gold Coast Homeless Connect’s annual event at Metricon Stadium today.
The full-day event will see more than 1700 locals experiencing homelessness or at risk of homelessness, receive clothing, toiletries and non perishable food, as well as services including psychology, allied health, dental, haircuts, vet checks for pets, housing support and more.
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Speaking in regards to the multi-agency initiative launched today, Minister Ryan said police, along with support staff including a social worker, would spend Thursday afternoons and evenings attending local spots known to be hang outs for homeless young people on the Gold Coast and identify any kids in need of help.
“We want to make absolutely sure that vulnerable young people are not out on the streets,” Minister Ryan said.
“Police and social workers will locate these at-risk kids and offer them help by reconnecting them with home or by finding them a place of safety with assistance from a relevant service provider,” Minister Ryan said.
“For many of these kids, the only interactions they have ever had with police have been negative – so the focus of this program is on engaging with them and building up a level of trust.”
The initiative comes following the announcement that the state government has given the go ahead to commence construction for a youth housing service in Southport.
The Gold Coast Youth Foyer will offer secure housing and professional support for up to 40 vulnerable young people at any one time.
“Youth Foyers are recognised for putting young people aged 16-25 on a positive path by providing safe and affordable housing while helping them to become confident, strong and self-supporting,” Member for Gaven Meaghan Scanlon said.
“Young people also learn and practice the rights and responsibilities of being a tenant in a safe and secure environment before moving into more independent housing options.”
The 40 single-occupancy self-contained studio units in the Gold Coast Youth Foyer will be staffed 24/7 by professional youth support workers, with tenants paying 25 per cent of their income in rent.
The Foyer will be designed by Paynter Dixon Queensland in consultation with stakeholders, using the successful Logan Youth Foyer as a model.
Construction is expected to start at the end of 2018 with the Gold Coast Youth Foyer hoping to be operational by the end of 2019.