Homeless youth have brief funding respite

HOMELESS youth will be assisted for another year, but support providers have urged the federal government to guarantee longer-term security.

Money for the National Partnership Agreement on Homelessness was to end in three months until Social Services Minister Kevin Andrews extended it until 2015, pledging $115 million to help about 100,000 people nationwide.

Even though the total will be $44 million less than Labor pledged last year, Southern Youth and Family Services chief executive Narelle Clay welcomed the announcement.

"We are thrilled if we can get it - it's a very well-recognised youth housing model," she said.

"But we also have to see whether the state government will match it."

SYFS currently houses 33 young people in Wollongong through its Foyer program, with additional accommodation under construction at the former Warilla Police Station.

It also takes referrals from throughout the Illawarra, including Shellharbour.

The program provides stable housing for young people who would otherwise be homeless or living in an unstable home.

Support workers and case managers guide participants through education, training and the search for employment.

Ms Clay said the interim funding would help while the government decided on a longer-term model, but said the sector needed security.

"Staff were getting nervous and the young people were wondering what was going on," she said.

"We don't want to be in the same position next year, fighting for another year."

The program relied on sponsorship and donations when it started in 1992 and only secured government funding two years ago.

Ms Clay said it needed to continue.

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