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Brisbane priest calls homeless youth problem a 'scandal'

The lack of emergency accommodation for homeless youths in Brisbane is a 'scandal', according to Brisbane youth advocacy priest Fr Wally Dethlefs of the Church Network for Youth Justice.

The Catholic Leader reports that Fr Dethlefs spoke out last week after an incident in the Brisbane CBD on 1 November when police closed a street while two teenagers threw projectiles from the top of a building.

The Leader says a study has shown that an increasing number of homeless youth are moving to Queensland from southern states.

A report from the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare showed that in Queensland 71% of people seeking emergency accommodation were turned away - a rejection rate 20% higher than the national average.

Fr Dethlefs said other national studies had indicated youth homelessness had increased by 5000 in Australia between 1996 and 2001.

He pointed to research by the University of Technology Sydney that showed almost all of Brisbane's homeless people were in that situation because of trauma such as sexual or physical abuse, drug addiction and mental illness.

Karyn Walsh, who co-ordinates Micah Projects, based at St Mary's Community, South Brisbane, said youth homelessness was only part of a wider housing crisis in Brisbane.

Ms Walsh said a Brisbane homelessness action plan was needed to address the number of people coming to Queensland and the redevelopment happening in the area.

Homeless problem a 'scandal' (Catholic Leader 14/11/04)

Church Network for Youth Justice
Catholic Parish of South Brisbane
12,200 homeless accommodated daily, but people with kids turned away most often (Australian Institute of Health and Welfare 29/10/04)

15 Nov 2004