According to the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) 2011 survey, more than 47,000 young people under 25 years are homeless in Australia.
One option available to homeless youths is to turn to the Don Bosco Home in Marrickville run by Youth Off The Street (YOTS). Founded in 1991 by Father Chris Riley, this refuge provides safe accommodation and support service to adolescents 15 to 18 years. In the past year they have helped 258 young people find their feet again.
“Don Bosco Home is a key service for YOTS. We pride ourselves on providing crisis refuge for homeless young people. However it is more than that; it’s a service that connects young people with other services we offer,” said Jill Summers, Account Manager at Youth Off The Street.
Young people are given short to long term accommodation, food, access to health care, information, and referrals to other services. Don Bosco Home has built relationships with different counsellors, schools, drug and alcohol rehabilitation programs which the youths can access. Case workers, who help settle them in and provide encouragement, are also assigned to each individual young person throughout the duration of their stay and continue to provide support after the youth has left the refuge.
“Having case workers is essential to the service. A great case worker needs to have passion, dedication, knowledge of the youth sector and young people’s needs. Having trained professionals makes all the difference when helping young people prepare for independent living,” said Jill.
Avid supporters of youth in the community, Canterbury League Club donated $20,000 to help fund one of the case workers working at the Don Bosco Home. The refuge currently has seven full time case workers and six casuals.
“Services like this are a lifeline for homeless young people; they are in a supportive environment with access to trained case workers while they try to overcome their personal issues,” said Dr George Peponis OAM, Chairman at the Canterbury League Club.