EYHC 2011: Finding Home?

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(Diversity) This presentation was facilitated by Anne-Marie Taylor from the Multicultural Youth Advocacy Network NSW.

The presentation details research conducted by the Centre for Multicultural Youth Victoria, 'Finding Home in Victoria: Refugee and migrant young people who are homeless or at risk of homelessness', as well as additional information and research from around Australia. It explores the issues and solutions to homelessness in reference to young people from refugee and migrant backgrounds and suggests practical approaches to working to support this group of young people.

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  • This session will present research and discussion about the issues faced by young people from migrant and refugee backgrounds who are homeless or at risk of homelessness. The session is based on research conducted by the Centre for Multicultural Youth Victoria Finding Home in Victoria: Refugee and migrant young people who are homeless or at risk of homelessness as well as additional information and research from around Australia. The session will both explore issues and solutions to homelessness in reference to young people from refugee and migrant backgrounds and suggest practical approaches to working to support this group of young people.
  • About the MYAN NSWThe Multicultural Youth Affairs Network NSW is a network of services committed to improving the opportunities and outcomes for multicultural young people in NSW.What does the MYAN do? The MYAN NSW works to develop appropriate policies, strategies and resources that address multicultural youth issues at the local, regional and state-wide levels.  It does this through consultation with youth and family services, the multicultural sector, state and local government, and multicultural young people.The Network is made up of community workers from the youth and multicultural sectors and government employees who currently support multicultural young people and their families.  The MYAN NSW use the term multicultural young people refers to those who are newly arrived, young people from refugee backgrounds and Australian born young people from Culturally and Linguistically Diverse (CALD) backgrounds.The role of MYAN is to:Coordinate informationand action on issues affecting multicultural young people and their families state-wide.Provide input and respond to government and other policies and practices affecting multicultural young people.Lobby and advocate for multicultural young people to the local, regional and state-wide levels.Support and resource services working with multicultural young people e.g. training, workshops and forums.Participate in the MYAN Australia, thenational policy and advocacy body that represents the rights and interests of migrant and newly arrived young people.
  • While there are no current figures on homelessness among young people from refugee or newly arrived backgrounds, it is recognised that this group of young people face particular vulnerabilities that place them at greater risk of homelessness (National Youth Commission, 2008:56).  Coventry et.al suggest that the risk of homelessness for this group of young people is up to 10 times higher than for the general population (Coventry, et.al. 2002:50).  Access to safe, secure and affordable housing is central to social inclusion and the ability to settle successfully in a new country. MYAN members agree that in our practice and experience, homelessness is a widespread issue for multicultural youth and has significant ramifications for mental health, family relationships, safety, connection to community, and engagement in education and employment10. Despite this, there is no mention about the specific challenges facing refugee or migrant young people in the National Homelessness Framework. Given their vulnerability to social exclusion and homelessness, it is vital that young people from a refugee or migrant background are explicitly recognised and responded to in the development and implementation of any policies or programs within the state/territory implementation plans (under the National Affordable Housing Agreement/s).Why young people from refugee backgrounds are more at risk of homelessnessYoung people from refugee backgrounds are six to ten times more likely to be at risk of homelessness than Australian-born young peopleEvidence suggests that newly arrived youth are likely to experience greater barriers in accessing support services, especially housing and accommodation servicesYoung people are noticeably disadvantage by the refugee experience and resettlement process including:Disruption in their already disrupted schooling life Resettlement within a family grouping that have survived traumatic eventsArrival in Australia without core family members.Additional elements include breakdown of family and social networks, social exclusion and discrimination, poor health, mental illness and substance abuse.Difficulties in accessing servicesSecondary homelessness – that is moving from one temporary accommodation to another is the main form of homelessness experiences by newly arrived young people, this includes couch surfingIncreasing numbers of young people from refugee backgrounds seeking crisis accommodation services Newly arrived youth experience greater barriers in accessing services and navigating their way around service systems:Language/ communication barriersLimited understanding about the service systemLack of knowledge about services availableProblems understanding process for example, waiting lists
  • Think of primary homelessness – not having a house or shelter, sleeping rough, if they were couch surfing / staying with friends they did not consider themselves as homeless. The experience of homelessness could be a source of further marginalisation Define homelessness as something more than a house or shelter. They saw it as a lack of connection with their family, community members, friends and other support networks - a feeling of not being “at home”.Do not want to be identified as homeless, it has stigma attached to it.
  • Barriers to accessing available homelessness servicesShame and negative connotation attached to the concept of homelessnessReluctance to identify as homeless due to stigma or talk about – refrain from accessing any services that identifies them with homelessness. Limited resources within the housing sector and lack of culturally appropriate servicesLack of rental history and suitable refereesLimited language skills and knowledge of available servicesDissatisfaction and distrust due to a negative experience from a service provider
  • What can be done to better support young people from refugee and migrant backgrounds, including a discussion of appropriate housing options.Flexible service models especially outreach services that assist young people to navigate the system and work with family membersYouth networking groups to share information and resources
  • EYHC 2011: Finding Home?

    1. 1. Finding Home?Exploring the issues faced by young people fromrefugee and migrant backgrounds in regards tohomelessness in AustraliaAnne-Marie Taylor, MYAN NSW State Coordinator
    2. 2. About this presentation Understanding the issues affecting young people from refugee and migrant backgrounds in regards to homelessness Increased knowledge of how to work with young people from refugee and migrant backgrounds. Understanding appropriate housing options for young people from refugee and migrant backgrounds.
    3. 3. Research on homelessness Main sources:  MYAN Australia, Policy Briefing Paper, November 2011  Centre for Multicultural Youth, Finding Home in Victoria: refugee and migrant young people who are homeless or at risk of homelessness, 2010  ASeTTS, Hidden Homelessness: the impact of homelessness on newly arrived youth, 2008
    4. 4. About the MYAN Australia• National policy and advocacy body on multicultural youth issues.• Works in partnership with government and non-government agencies at the state/territory and national levels to ensure that the particular needs of multicultural young people are recognised and appropriate responses developed.• Supports the development of state and territory multicultural youth advocacy networks.
    5. 5. About young people fromrefugee backgrounds Accompanied/ Unaccompanied
    6. 6. Homelessness risk? 10 times more likely to be at risk of homelessness than Australian born counterparts Greater barriers in accessing services Disadvantaged by settlement process  Disruption in their already disrupted schooling life  Resettlement within a family grouping that have survived traumatic events  Arrival in Australia without core family members.
    7. 7. What they think ofhomelessness?
    8. 8. Homelessness is asignificant barrier tosuccessful settlement
    9. 9.  Causes of homelessness: Family conflict and relationship difficulties Shortage of private and public housing Financial constraints, including unemployment and low income Impact of homelessness Disruption in schooling Overcrowding in housing Potential to trigger past traumatic experiences Negative impact on future productivity
    10. 10. Barriers to accessingservices
    11. 11. What can be done?

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