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Tiny homes a solution for homeless youth


Tiny homes a solution for homeless youth

Tewantin charity Youturn is calling on the community to support its Big Hearts for Tiny Homes project, aimed at ending youth homelessness.

The Big Hearts for Tiny Homes project is being driven by Youturn youth support service. The goal is to build Tiny Homes to be made available as short-term, transitional housing for young people aged 18 to 25 years who need homelessness support. After receiving support to resolve the crisis in their lives, the young person may receive ongoing social support and tenancy in a Tiny Home, before taking the next step to independent living.

To achieve this, Youturn has launched an integrated marketing campaign and is looking towards community and partners to offer support  with:

  • Cash donations
  • Tradespeople and companies to help with materials and labour
  • Businesses and individuals to donate new material items such as white goods, furniture, linen, etc
  • Transport and set up of the tiny home.

“We are particularly excited about the opportunity to build partnerships with the corporate community on the Sunshine Coast with IGA and Bendigo Bank Tewantin, who are taking the lead by supporting and getting involved in our various initiatives,” says Andrew Anderson, CEO of Youturn. “Whites’ IGA are selling our colourful branded wristbands with a positive message for a gold coin donation and Bendigo Banks employees will all be dressing up as Homelessness Heroes and challenging their network and branches to do the same – all helping us to fundraise for our Tiny Homes,” he says.

To involve the wider community, including our local schools, and raise further awareness on the Sunshine Coast, Youturn has launched #YouturnRocks.

“We are inviting and encouraging our community to share kindness by painting smooth colourful rocks with positive or inspirational messages and then placing them in areas around the coastal parks and paths. You never know how one message on a rock found, could empower or make an impact on someone who is lonely, depressed or even homeless.”

The rocks which are hidden, are intended to be picked up, photographed and put on Facebook and Instagram with the hashtag #YouturnRocks and then re-hidden in a different spot.

We will also be hiding some very special rocks painted by local artists and challenging our communities to help us locate these treasured rocks.”

Did you know?

Youturn is a not-for-profit based at Tewantin. The organisation works substantially with young people and those that support them, expanding their focus to include child safety, mental health, suicide prevention and homelessness. The team works at 14 locations across Queensland with a staff base of 180 employees and last year helped over 6000 young people.


Hannah’s story

Hannah, dropped out of  her Sunshine Coast school at 15 years-old  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 using drugs and alcohol. After six months and a few close calls, Hannah realised that she needed to get out and she urgently needed help.

Hannah was referred to Youturn and was accepted into its 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 wary 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 relationship 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 their 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.”


The facts

  • Noosa-Sunshine Coast housing cost to average income (9:3), is one of the worst in Australia.
  • Over the January-March 2020 quarter, 249 young people presented to Noosa-Sunshine Coast homelessness services.
  • Just because you don’t see people sleeping rough in our streets, doesn’t mean our community is immune to the problem, and there is just not enough affordable accommodation available to us to help home our young people.
  • Over half of young people under the age of 25 receiving support from homeless services slept rough at least once prior to turning 18. The most common form of homelessness among young people is couch surfing.
  • More than 1 in 6 young people across Australia (17 per cent) reported having an experience of homeslessness.
  • Anyone can experience homelessness with unplanned life events (health, job loss, family breakdown) putting many of us at risk, and only a few small steps away from needing support or being homeless. The number of Australians aged 18 to 24 who experienced higher levels of housing stress increased threefold between April and May 2020, from 10.3 per cent to 27.5 per cent.
  • Young service industry employees have been hit hard by COVID-19 impacts, and while the requirements for JobKeeper changed in September, our local economy will be much slower to recover.
  • Homeless people will often experience poor mental health, poverty, trauma, substance abuse, social isolation and are victims of crime. Early intervention is needed to break the cycle.

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