In excess of 4000 Northern Territory children 12 years old or younger are homeless – more than any other jurisdiction throughout the nation, news.com.au reports.
The Charity Mission Australia report, released last week, shows the youth homelessness crisis gripping the Territory has been triggered by our skyrocketing rates of domestic violence.
Almost half (44 per cent) of the 15,470 homeless Territorians aged under 25 reported domestic violence as the cause of their troubles.
New South Wales, a state with a population that dwarfs the Northern Territory’s, has the next most number of homeless kids (3638) under age 12 compared to the NT’s 4183. The NT social housing waitlist stands at 3000.
A spokeswoman for NT housing minister Gerry McCarthy said about $6 million had been allocated last year specifically for children, young people and families who require support due to homelessness or risk of homelessness.
Mission Australia chief Catherine Yeoman said young Australians “deserve a safe home and we have the means to provide it”.
“All that is needed is the political will and the commitment from us all as a community,” she said.
Mission Australia says more than 26,000 young people are currently homeless across the country — with teenagers suffering a mental illness far more vulnerable to being displaced than their peers, ABC News adds.
In its latest report, the charity says homelessness among young people often begins with “couch surfing” between the homes of friends and relatives — which can then lead to permanent homelessness later in life.
Mental illness and homelessness linked: Report (ABC Breakfast)