Backing our community

Backing long-term homes

“At long last, I knew I didn’t have to sleep from one place to another. I have all my friends nearby. My son is close. I am happy now. I’ve got my own place. No more crying.”

Azucena was sleeping rough, couch surfing at her friends’ homes. Our Housing 1st team helped her secure safe, long-term housing.

Homelessness in Logan is often hidden. The 2016 Census identified around 3,000 people homeless in the city, many living in overcrowded dwellings or couch surfing. 2019–20 saw a determined effort by our community to reduce homelessness.

YFS’ front door YFS Connect continued to attract high volumes of requests for assistance with housing or homelessness-related issues in 2019-20. A total of 7,174 contacts to YFS Connect related to homelessness, housing or tenancy matters; this represents 62% of all enquiries where the presenting issue is recorded. YFS Connect fills an essential gap in the Logan community as one of the few options providing open, same-day access with immediate support. However, it continued to be  overwhelmed by the level of housing-related need in the community.

YFS Connect tries to provide solutions where possible, linking people with short-term accommodation, delivering advice about accessing private rentals and social housing, and referring to support services. YFS Connect uses emergency relief brokerage to help people avoid or escape homelessness by funding rent arrears, rent in advance and short-term accommodation if needed.

The YFS Housing First team supported 229 families and individuals who needed help to find stable homes. About 53% of Housing First clients were aged 25 years and under and 40% were families with children. A total of 21% identified as Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander, 32% were sleeping rough while 56% were in short-term or emergency accommodation when they first came to YFS. Our team helped people find diverse solutions including private rentals, community housing and public housing.

A 2020 review of our work in housing highlighted the strengths of our approach and flagged opportunities to increase our internal and external collaboration so we can link more clients with support to address underlying issues. Collaboration on homelessness and housing is increasing in our community. YFS co-chairs a group working towards a homelessness hub for Logan and participates in emerging collaborative approaches that are creating better outcomes for people experiencing homelessness.

Internally, YFS initiated an integrated response for homeless young families, the Thriving Families Project, profiled in the Hope section of this report. We also increased the capacity of YFS teams to respond to homelessness by offering internal training and access to expert support from our own specialist staff.

  • In 2020-21, we will increase our advocacy for a Logan Homelessness Hub to bring together under one roof the services homeless people need.
  • We will expand our integration of a housing specialist with family workers across our Step by Step Young Families team.

The COVID-19 pandemic highlighted the vulnerability of people experiencing homelessness.

We worked with our colleagues from local and state governments and other organisations to house people rapidly. Additional state government investment
in motel accommodation provided a platform to achieve great results.

We diverted staff from other teams to the intense homelessness response. Between March and May, our Housing First team supported 107 families or individuals to seek housing, up from 70 in the same period last year. A total of 83% of people found safe and sustainable housing.

In the same period, YFS Connect provided advice and information about housing to 1,684 callers and helped 76 people with funds to save tenancies, source emergency accommodation or secure permanent housing.

Across all of our teams, homelessness and housing insecurity continued to be common. On average, 42% of our clients were homeless or at risk of homelessness when they joined a YFS service. By the time they exited, 82% of all clients were in stable housing that was safe, affordable and appropriate.

Housing is fundamental for independence and participation. Our organisational outcomes data shows that most people who were initially homeless or at risk of homelessness were in stable housing by the end of their time with us. However, our Housing First team of specialists was most effective in achieving good housing outcomes.

Housing status on entry - all programs

At risk

Housing status on exit - all programs

At risk

Source: YFS Organisational Outcomes

Kevin makes himself at home

“I didn’t know how to do it. They helped me do it. I couldn’t believe how fast they did it too.”

About a third of the people we supported were sleeping rough when we met them, and some had been chronically homeless for many years, like Kevin. The collaboration between the Logan Housing Service Centre and YFS has meant that Kevin has his first home for many years.