The Prospect of Independence: A critique and proposal for responding to youth homelessness in South Australia

Author: Sharyn Leanne Goudie

Goudie, Sharyn Leanne, 2009 The Prospect of Independence: A critique and proposal for responding to youth homelessness in South Australia, Flinders University, School of Social and Policy Studies

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The lack of resources a young person brings with them to their experience of being homeless dramatically impacts on their ability to get out of homelessness. Young people who become homeless come with limited experience of successful independent living and at a life stage in which they are still developing physically, intellectually and psychologically. Johnson (2006) found that the younger a person was when they first became homeless the more likely they would remain homeless for a longer period of time. Evidence also shows that the longer someone remains homeless the more likely it is that they will develop substance use and/or mental health issues, further reducing their opportunities to ‘get out’ of homelessness. Youth homelessness disrupts schooling and limits future opportunities for economic participation, placing these young people well and truly at the bottom of the labour market. This paper asks ‘“Given that young people follow a unique pathway to homelessness, what supports and services are needed to effectively respond to this group?” This paper is divided into three sections – a critique of the characteristics of young people who become homeless, a review of current theories of intervention and government responses, and finally a proposal for an improved response to young people who are at risk of becoming or who are already homeless.

Keywords: youth homelessness,south australia,case management

Subject: Policy and Administration thesis

Thesis type: Masters
Completed: 2009
School: School of Social and Policy Studies
Supervisor: Jo Baulderstone