Youth homeless crisis



YOUTH crisis accommmodation levels on the Gold Coast remain at critical levels due to a huge shortfall in funding, according to a welfare group.

The Gold Coast Project for Homeless Youth which provides crisis and medium term accommodation specifically for youths is currently facing closure due to a $113,000 budget deficit.

While the project receives funding through the State and Federal government initiative Support and Accommodation Assistance Program (SAAP) it was not adequate to meet their needs.

Project Manager Madelyn Wilkinson said their requests for further assistance from Minister for Communities, Disability Services and Seniors Warren Pitt had been rejected.

"We have been told there are no unallocated funds available to assist us with the shortfall," she said.

Ms Wilkinson said youth homelessness was a huge problem on the Gold Coast and services were stretched to the limit.

"We are the only organisation from BeenleighByron Bay offering youth crisis accommomdation and there is simply not enough beds to meet the demand.

"Since April this year we have had to turn away 187 people who have nowhere else to go.

"This leaves young people with little option but to sleep on the streets and obviously from a safety perspective this is very concerning," she said.

Ms Wilkinson said while they would endeavour to keep their doors open it would involve a dramatic restructuring of the services offered.

"Obviously this is going to involve tough decisions and we will need to look at rationalising and minimising our services.

"We will not be able to take on complex needs clients or those with behavioural problems as it will drain our already fragile resources," she said.



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