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Support for homeless young people remains a priority

The Commissioner for Children and Young People Colin Pettit met with Program Coordinator Esben and youth workers Lynn and Gill from Anglicare WA yesterday to hear more about their award-winning StreetConnect program, which provides much-needed assistance to homeless young people.

StreetConnect provides an outreach service for young people who are living on the street, and also conduct emergency interventions when homeless young people require urgent help.

The program’s youth workers meet with young people in their Mobile Youth Resource Centre, to form positive relationships, provide counselling and ongoing professional support.

They also have fresh sandwiches, water, pregnancy tests, condoms and a first aid kit.

The Commissioner said programs such as StreetConnect are vitally important as research shows these young people are at risk of experiencing increased substance abuse, mental health problems and self-harm without intervention.

“I was impressed to hear about the collaborative nature of StreetConnect’s work, as they liaise with hospitals, police, city rangers and local non-government services to reduce the risks of further harm and support these young people to access assistance and eventually move into accommodation” Mr Pettit said.

“I am pleased StreetConnect were recognised for their leadership, innovation and continuous improvement by receiving the Award for Improved Outcomes in Child and Youth Mental Health at the Mental Health Commission’s 2015 Good Outcomes Awards.”

“I was also able to speak with one young person who had been assisted by StreetConnect. He had made impressive changes to his drug use, improved his mental health and was about to move into permanent accommodation, after more than a year of living on the streets so clearly the program is having an important impact.”

The Commissioner for Children and Young People has supported the Improved Outcomes in Child and Youth Mental Health Award since 2011, to increase understanding and recognition of the mental health needs of younger people.