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Sustaining Young Tenancies pilot project

The Sustaining Young Tenancies pilot project, funded by the department and delivered by Brisbane Youth Services, is helping vulnerable young people find a place to live and make a life for themselves.

Brisbane Youth Service’s housing support officer Zoe Mitchell said the project brought together housing and support services for young people like 23-year-old Katherine* and her two-year-old son.

 “Katherine was at a vulnerable point when I first met her,” said Zoe.

“She and her son were couch surfing at friends’ places. When they were placed in a department property Katherine had no furniture and limited financial capacity. I introduced myself and we began to build a relationship.”

Zoe assisted Katherine over six months, providing financial assistance, and helping her navigate daily tasks such as cooking, cleaning and organising a routine, and making decisions about study and employment.

“Many young people don’t have the skills they need to pay rent, to prepare for inspections, to organise the electricity to be connected. Early intervention is integral to initiating a positive tenancy.”

Katherine’s life now is dramatically different to six months ago, thanks to the work she did with Zoe and BYS. She is now studying nursing, has been offered part time employment and has re-established connections with family and friends.

“To see her now, I’m so proud of her,” said Zoe.

“She talks about her departmental property as being a home. It has enabled her to feel stable enough to participate in the community and engage in education with the hope of employment afterwards.”

Katherine is aiming to own her own house by the time she is 30, and to own her own car by the end of the year.

“Housing has given me the opportunity to start a new chapter in my life,” she said.

 “It’s empowered me to make a big step towards my future by getting to know what I really want in life for me and my son. The moment I got those keys was a relief. I’m so blessed to have my own little place.”

Zoe said the Sustaining Tenancies project success stems housing providers and young tenants working in partnership.

“We are constantly engaged in outreach, we’re attending properties, being present and supporting young people to identify issues and risks, then supporting them to remedy those.”

The project’s goal is for the young person to reach a point where they are feeling confident and independent to be able to achieve their goals.

And Zoe believes they’ve succeeded in supporting Zoe to achieve that goal.

 “Katherine is at a point where she’s has a stable home, she’s part of the community, and has a strong sense of self-worth. That’s the ultimate outcome. She has developed her independence and she is now able to take on whatever comes her way.”

For the past 40 years Brisbane Youth Service has been supporting young people aged 12-25 and their children who are experiencing homelessness and disadvantage.

For more information about the project, contact Adam Barnes at

*Please note: names have been changed to protect privacy.

Last updated 22 September 2017    Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International (CC BY 4.0)

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