HELP:  MP Geoff Provest , The Family Centre's  David Boutkan ,   Carol Shanley  and  Gerina  Appo, Surf Dive n Ski GM  David Keays  and Youth Ambassador Shakia  Tauwhare .
HELP: MP Geoff Provest , The Family Centre's David Boutkan , Carol Shanley and Gerina Appo, Surf Dive n Ski GM David Keays and Youth Ambassador Shakia Tauwhare . Contributed

New help for Tweed homeless

THE Tweed Youth Homelessness Matters Community Campaign is gaining momentum as the State Government commits $1.5million in extra funding for far-north coast support.

The Family Centre, the advocacy group that launched the campaign in June 2017, celebrated the success of the campaign so far on Wednesday.

The Family Centre's executive director David Boutkan said he was pleased with how well community and government had responded to the youth homelessness campaign.

"We've been able to get government funding, they've funded this region $1.5million and have provided nine two-bedroom properties, and the support for young people in need,” Mr Boutkan said.

"About five of those properties will go in the Tweed area.

"The other initiative was the rent choice initiative, which allows young people moving out of our crisis housing into their own properties (to get) subsidies up to three years.

"It'll benefit 15 people who are exiting our service and it gives them a nice, stable place to be.”

Mr Boutkan said he was also pleased to announce a new work experience and mentoring program with Surf Dive n Ski for young people using the Family Centre programs.

"The initiative is that Surf Dive n Ski is going to provide work experience to young people connected to our program,” he said.

"It's an accredited course.

"It'll show that they've done a particular training course.

"Once they finish the work experience they'll be offered a mentor to help them achieve their goals throughout the year.”

But Mr Boutkan said more needed to be done to ensure young people were spared from becoming homeless in the Tweed.

"We're still needing more properties, we definitely still need more housing,” he said.

"We've got some wins but we still need more affordable housing for young people.

"We still need more resources to do more early- intervention work, helping people stay where they are before they become homeless.”

You Have a Friend founder John Lee said one solution to help people sleep a little easier was Backpack Beds, a national charity providing shelter options.

"They love the Backpack Beds,” he said.

"It can tide them over for a while until they sort something out or even if they need to sleep in them for a while.

"Most of these people are just ordinary people in a bad cycle they can't get out of.

"It's hard because without a home you won't get a job, and without a job you won't get a home.”



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