Homelessness Prevention Week 2021 The 2016 Census showed that 1 in 200 Aussies experience homelessness (ABS, 2021). In the spirit of homelessness prevention week, Bridges wanted to raise awareness of homelessness in Bundaberg, and Young People impacted by homelessness. What is homelessness? Homelessness is defined into three broad categories: Primary homelessness which is experienced by people without conventional accommodation Secondary homelessness experienced by people who frequently move between temporary shelters Tertiary homelessness is experienced by those staying in accommodation that falls below minimum community standards (Source: Bundaberg Regional Council, 2021) What are the contributing factors to homelessness in youth? Some familiar dysfunctional, and Young People struggle to find their place within the family unit. There may be problematic substance abuse, and/or mental health concerns which impact their ability to remain in the family home. This could be their own, or a family member’s ill health. Some Young People make the conscious decision to “couch surf”, as they struggle with boundaries, or rules. So, they seek out other Young People to spend time with. Homelessness in the Bundaberg Region In the Bundaberg region, there is only one option for young people, at the Salvation Army Youth Refuge. However, the refuge is at full capacity most of the time. This leaves vulnerable Young People at risk. Many of these Young People will also have mental health and/or problematic substance use issues. This usually means they are denied a bed at the refuge. When Young People are denied a bed at the refuges, it may be due to a concern that they may impact others currently there, or they are simply too high a risk. How Bridges Youth Bail Support Services can help Bridges Youth Bail Support Services helps Young People on bail through advocacy and support to ensure at risk youth can enter the refuge. We do this through conversations with the refuge directly to organize intake, or to provide transport to the initial meeting, depending on what the Young Person requires. Our Bail Support team will continue to work collaboratively with the refuge whilst the Young Person is on bail. If the intake process is unsuccessful, or there are no beds available, our team will seek a bed outside the region. Typically, the last resort is to provide a Young Person with a safe space for them to sleep in the interim, and equipping them with bedding, food, and cooking utensils. Bridges supports those who experience homelessness by providing up to date information regard emergency relief contacts and integrating with other community services.