Homelessness is a complex issue with many factors contributing to Australia’s increasing rates of young people who find themselves couch-surfing, living rough or in supported accommodation. For most young people, homelessness is not a choice, with many experiencing home lives that are fraught with poverty, neglect, physical and emotional abuse leaving them to feel there is no other option but to leave.
This is a growing social problem across Australia, where it is estimated that more than 122,000 Australians are homeless each night, and more than one third of these people are children and young people under the age of 25. Queensland, after New South Wales and the Northern Territory, has the third highest rate of homelessness across all states and territories.
Homelessness is more than simply not having shelter, it is about having a stable and safe place to call home. For young people in particular, it is about having a strong foundation which provides them with the support and care they need to live a healthy and meaningful life.
Youturn grew out of the need to address youth homelessness on the Sunshine Coast, with a group of local dedicated campaigners that were determined to make a difference in this area.
Youturn has been providing homelessness services for more than 30 years and is recognised as a key provider of Specialist Homelessness Services (SHS) across southern Queensland. Our services include both the provision of accommodation, with over 50 beds/night available across almost 20 properties, as well as wrap-around case management services for those in need of support.
We employ dedicated Case Managers and support staff to work with young people and provide a range of innovative homelessness services committed to supporting people:
- whose living conditions make it intolerable to remain at home
- who can’t afford secure and appropriate housing.
Youturn Specialist Homelessness Service, provides short term and, in some cases, immediate accommodation and homelessness assistance which is used to support young people, families and/or couples through their crisis housing situation as they move towards independent living. Intervention support, through regular contact and referral, both pre and post exit ensures that young people are assisted to gain and sustain appropriate accommodation.
Youturn Crisis Accommodation is for young people needing transitional housing and independent living skills. This program is for single young people is in the Caloundra and Toowoomba areas and is delivered mostly in a shared accommodation environment.
Our Emergency Relief program provides assistance with emergency food vouchers, hygiene packs, groceries, and clothing. We also refer people to other in-house programs or to external specialist services.
Youturn Money Matters program provides budgeting and money management strategies to people who are experiencing financial hardship and needing guidance on budgeting and managing money and debt strategies
Our Youth Support Program
Provides case management support to young people in complex situations with limited support networks. This program includes a long-standing MoU with Youth Justice to provide practical and emotional support to young people and their families / carers when navigating the children’s court system.
If you need help with accommodation, or need an emergency shelter or you are at risk of experiencing homelessness call the Homeless Hotline 1800 474 753
Program vacancies are advertised through QHIP and referral and further information can be obtained by calling: 07 5492 2498
*Residents and tenants receiving an income are expected to pay rent in-line with the program guidelines.
Our homelessness services and programs are funded by the Australian and Queensland Governments.
Jess came to Gateway House, Toowoomba in November of 2019 after her younger sister had also received support through them. Jess said that she “was a mess” when she first arrived. She had previously been living with her Grandmother who had become unwell with dementia and Jess described the time as being one where “there was so much emotion everywhere”. She was couch surfing before meeting with Jo for an interview, which went really well. She said that “everyone at Gateway was so welcoming”.
Jess believes that Jo and Gateway “helped me so much with stability and getting my life on track”. “Jo is really wise, knows everything and works so hard”.
Like so many others, COVID-19 also impacted Jess quite significantly causing her to lose her job, her income and the ability to receive the supplement payments which in turn resulted in her inability to pay rent.
Jess’s main goal at the moment is to save for her license and a car. “Jo gave me a lot of driving lessons, so I am determined to get my P’s and a car very soon”. Jess developed an amazing savings plan and goal chart “Gateway helped and encouraged me to save so much because I was a terrible saver before”. Jess has now saved $4000 and her next savings goal is a bond on her own place.
Jess also shared that she has recently enrolled in TAFE in Community Services which she is feeling really excited about.
Final words from Jess:
“Gateway should be more well-known. People should know about it. It’s amazing the help you get. When you are so stuck and in a rut you don’t always know you need the help until they give it to you and then you realize it was the guidance you needed. Get the help, do it! Gateway guides you, helps you and shows you how to adult.”