UPDATE: Since launching our “Big Hearts for Tiny Homes” initiative in 2020 to tackle youth homelessness on the Sunshine Coast, we have managed to raise enough to build our first TWO tiny homes! The deposits have been paid and Aussie Tiny Houses have commenced with the builds, with an expected delivery of October 2021!
Just because you don’t see people sleeping rough in our streets doesn’t mean our local community is immune to the problem. Noosa-Sunshine Coast is a popular holiday destination, but a tough place to live for many young people to settle due to extreme housing costs, low average wages, social housing shortage and high rental competition. Add to this, COVID-19 impacts of business closures, unemployment and health concerns, 2020/21 has seen more local people and particularly young people experiencing homelessness.
Youturn Youth Support is a home grown, local Sunshine Coast charity based at Tewantin that was started over 30 years ago to deliver local impact and help address youth homelessness in the region. Our humble beginnings started as a grass roots youth homelessness project in 1989 with the Noosa Accommodation Project (NAP), which was originally started by 5 volunteers supporting six young people.
Since then, the organisation has grown substantially working with young people and those that support them, expanding our focus to include child safety, homelessness and mental health. Today our organisation has grown to include a team of 160 employees and last year we supported over 8600 young people.
Youturn is well positioned to respond to youth issues across our communities and we believe our strength is the provision of wrap-around holistic support, leading to transformative benefits to young people, their families and in turn building resilient communities.
To achieve Youturn’s long-term vision of strengthening our community by tackling youth homelessness on the Sunshine Coast, we set our sights on an initiative to provide more access to stable and affordable housing for young people by raising funds to invest and build Tiny Homes. This project would be a value-add to our government funded Specialist Homelessness Services.
The Tiny Homes would provide short-term, transitional housing to young people in need of homelessness support. After receiving help to resolve crisis in their lives, a young person could receive ongoing social support and tenancy in a Tiny Home, before taking the next step to independent living.
Over the past 10 months, since launching our Big Hearts for Tiny Homes campaign, we have worked tirelessly with our community and corporate partners to raise awareness and funds for this exciting project. Driven by their compassion and support, we have now raised enough for TWO tiny homes! Deposits have now been paid and the building has commenced, with our very first two Tiny Homes expected to be delivered in September 2021.
Working closely with Noosa Council, who has been extremely supportive of this initiative, we have identified that the best position for our tiny homes is the land next door to the Tait Duke Cottage Community Support Centre at at Earl Street, Tewantin.
We can’t wait to share more of our Big Hearts for Tiny Homes journey… so watch this space!
We commit that 100% of the funds raised will go directly to the Big Hearts for Tiny Homes which is a value-add to our government funded specialist homelessness services which is around social support, not infrastructure. We see the two go hand in hand.
Hannah, a local girl who attended Tewantin Primary and Sunshine Beach High, dropped out of school at 15 when she experienced a complete breakdown of family relationships and mental health issues. She landed up living in a dilapidated party house with a group of youths, doing drugs and alcohol. After 6 months and a few close calls, Hannah realised that he needed to get out and she urgently needed help.
Hannah was referred to Youturn and was accepted into our Supported Accommodation program where she lived for 12 months. Speaking of her time with Youturn, Hannah says: “Youturn gave me time to recover and process. I did not need to be nervous, on guard or weary or jump through people’s hoops… They offered me a safe place – a haven…” Youturn supported me with emotional counselling, teaching me about budgeting and even delivering food parcels when I could not make ends meet.
After 12 months, Hannah met a guy, and soon after moving in she fell pregnant. Unfortunately, the relationships did not last but today she has a beautiful son – Harley, who is her reason for getting up each morning.
Hannah has consistently been employed since 2018, has a clean healthy lifestyle and has recently reached out to Youturn to help with our fundraising efforts. “I feel lucky to have received the support I did, and I feel its important to give back and do what I can for someone else like me…”
These Tiny Homes are intended for young people who are transitioning out of crisis accommodation to support their journey towards independent sustained housing.
As Youturn would be the “owner” of the Tiny Home, we would cover insurance and any rates applicable. The tenants will be expected to pay a minimal affordable rent which will all go towards maintaining and the upkeep of the houses.
Youturn explored various options for the best position for the tiny homes and worked closely with Noosa Council to identify the best location. The land next door to Tait Duke Cottage community support centre in Tewantin at 16 Earl Street was proposed as the best option.
Reasons for this included proximity to Youturn and Noosa’s Social Service Hub allowing ongoing support as needed, shared utilities and resources with Youturn, quiet cul de sac position within a community precinct and good access to community living (jobs, education, transport).
Youturn carefully considered many options and models before finally making the decision to partner with Aussie Tiny Houses – Coolum. Firstly we were keen to support a local business, but more importantly we wanted to ensure our Tiny Homes offered secure, good quality accommodation which was suitable for long term ownership and could offer flexibility so that we could accommodate, for example, two single young people or a mother with one or two children.
The Tiny Houses will be functional rather than elaborate to best support the needs of the young people and we will opt for the Turnkey option. This will enable us to provide the additional features such as being furnished with beds, lighting, electrical appliances, decking, landscaping etc.
As the tiny homes are intended for young people and young families who are coming out of crisis accommodation and transitioning towards independent living… $100 000 is not a per person cost… It’s important to realise that the investment of the Tiny home could house around 10 – 12 young people or young families over a three year period.
Thank you so much for your interest and willingness to help our cause. If you would like to hop over to our “How you can help page“, we detail various ways that you can get involved. We hope to hear from you soon!
Youturn is a not-for-profit charity and although we rely on government funding to deliver our various programs, we have started fundraising this year to try and do more for our local community in the homelessness space outside the scope of our programs. 100% of the funds raised will go directly to the Tiny Homes initiative.
Youturn have in the past been very active in offering youth skills programs and involving our young people.
We plan to invite our young people to participate in building the decking / landscaping etc, to help keep costs down as far as possible, but the actual build of the tiny houses, we will need to leave to the professionals.
Also it may be worth mentioning that as far as possible, all supplies sourced and contractors involved will be local businesses.