Funding of $208,642 has been provided by the Gillard Government to help break the cycle of homelessness among young people in Ballarat and region.
Federal Member for Ballarat, Catherine King, said the funding will again go to the Central Highlands Reconnect program run from Lisa Lodge in Barkley St, Ballarat and will continue to support the service until 2016.
“Reconnect services are critical to helping some of our most vulnerable young people get their lives back on track so they can avoid or move out of homelessness,” Ms King said.
“We know that family breakdown can lead young people to move away from home and become homeless, and that’s why Reconnect services focus on helping families build stronger relationships and resolve conflict.
“This includes through activities such as counselling, group work, mediation and practical support for young people and their families, including parenting support, and links to education, training, work, and support services.”
Ms King said an independent evaluation of the program last year reported it to be consistently successful in improving the lives of young people who are homeless or at risk of homelessness.
“Since 2000, Reconnect has helped more than 67,000 young people around the country work their way back from homelessness, including more than 5,700 in 2011–12 alone,” Ms King said.
“About 90 per cent of these young people getting individualised supports through the program said their situation had improved, and the risk of homelessness had reduced for almost three-quarters.”
The funding the Ballarat-based service is part of a $73 million investment over three years into more than 100 Reconnect services across Australia including specialist services for some of the most vulnerable groups.
This funding includes 30 specialist services for Indigenous Australians, newly arrived youth, people struggling with mental health issues, and services specific to gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgender, and intersex people.
“This government has made homelessness a national priority—without a secure home, people struggle to find and keep jobs or stay in training or education, or to keep their kids in school.
“We remain committed to halving homelessness by 2020, and have invested an unprecedented $20 billion in housing and homelessness services and programs since 2007—including $5 billion in additional funding in homelessness,” Ms king said.