Karla Donaldson is a young person, a social work student and a youth worker in the Shire. She volunteered at Youth Action over the first few months of 2014, and attended a Housing Forum put on by Youth Action, the Committee for Sydney and the Sydney Alliance. The forum brought together 60 young people from all walks of life from across Sydney to talk about the difficulty of housing and how young people can make a difference.
An individual unable to have access to a safe and stable home not only puts a strain on that person, but also increases unemployment, escalates safety issues and changes a community’s wellbeing.
The Housing Summit created a space for us all to express our frustration and create ideas to enhance the equality for every person in Sydney. Understanding the current housing dilemmas in Sydney was broken down into 3 areas; Homelessness, Density and Affordability and had forums hosted by experts in each field. Learning about the expected growth for Sydney’s population compared to its current infrastructure was daunting, as was the knowledge that homelessness services have faced severe cuts.
For me the latter is especially important as I work for a Youth Refuge for young people who are homeless due to family breakdown, abuse, financial hardship and lack of support systems. Hearing from Jessie about his struggle finding safety in his own home, and then finally receiving this support from a youth refuge struck a chord with us all in the forum.
For me, Housing in Sydney at this moment has created a belief that not everyone is entitled to have a safe and affordable home, with young people, families and communities severely affected. Working at a youth crisis refuge (Southern Sydney Youth Refuge) has shown me that, contrary to what appears to be popular belief, young people are working hard for a stable living situation. The hardest part of my job is seeing how frustrated at risk young people are at saving minimum $40,000+ to purchase a home while dealing with family breakdown, abuse ect. I then am forced to go home to try and work this struggle to save out for myself. Every area, gender and age continues to be impacted by the high stamp duty, rising house prices and funding cuts to accommodation services. What was refreshing about the Housing Summit was that there was passion and opportunity to not only raise awareness around these 3 issues, but set potential targets and goals for us all to contribute to. Every single person at the event has issues with housing in Sydney regardless of buying, renting or needed accommodation assistance.
We need to start looking at the housing situation in Sydney honestly, and acknowledge that there are systems in place that don’t work. If you are a young person in Sydney and have ever sat down stressed about where you will sleep, how your rent will be paid, or are attempting to save for a deposit, come to the amazing second event that’s happening!