The ACT government will commit to long-term funding for an accommodation and support program targeted at young people in Canberra who are at risk of homelessness.
Next month's territory budget will include $7 million over four years for the safe and connected youth program, which will include $4.1 million to run a therapeutic respite accommodation facility for people aged eight to 15.
A refurbished public housing property will offer accommodation to children at risk of homelessness and engagement with the criminal justice system, after the ACT government committed to continue the program after a trial.
Families and Community Services Minister Rachel Stephen-Smith said the safe and connected youth program had been a successful partnership between government and non-government organisations, led by the Youth Coalition of the ACT and the Canberra Rotary Club.
"Young people who have serious problems at home can be at risk of disengaging from school, becoming homeless and even entering the child protection or youth justice system," Ms Stephen-Smith said.
"The Safe and Connected Youth Program works with a child or young person and their family, offering outreach support, therapeutic case management and family mediation, with the aim of reducing family conflict and ensuring a safe home environment."
The funding also includes $2.6 million over four years for early preservation outreach services, including mediation and casework, along with $157,000 for post-exit outreach services.
The ACT government will spend $185,000 to establish the program, which is in part based on a similar initiative in Adelaide.
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Youth Coalition of the ACT executive director Justin Barker said the program was the first of its kind in Australia.
"The funding not only supports an early intervention service response, but also moderate and crisis interventions," Mr Barker said.
"It will cover both the outreach and residential needs of children and young people at risk of homelessness. These services prevent youth homelessness and all the risks associated with it."
Rotary Vulnerable Youth Project chair David Marshall said the ultimate aim was to help young people return to live with their families.
"This initiative, in association with the ACT Youth Coalition, will be the first of its kind in the ACT where young people will be able to stay whilst surrounded by youth support services," Dr Marshall said.
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