Responding to the needs of homeless Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander young people with complex disability: The Guddi for Young People

Responding to the needs of homeless Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander young people with complex disability: The Guddi for Young People

Published 8th February 2017

R Somerville, M McIntyre, C Townsend, S Pope 

SUMMARY: Youth homelessness has been identified as a significant problem in Australia, which exposes young people to social exclusion and considerable disadvantage (MacKenzie, Flatau, Steen, & Thielking, 2016). For young people, homelessness increases risks for physical and mental health problems, and negative social outcomes in adulthood including continued homelessnesss, unemployment, and poverty. These problems are further exacerbated for young people with disabilities, particularly amongst Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander1 young people. Early intervention is desirable, but a lack of research to guide service provision in relation to the unique needs of Indigenous young people who are homeless has been noted (Department of Families, Housing, Community Services and Indigenous Affairs (FaHCSIA), 2012; Memmott, Birdsall-Jones, & Greenop, 2012). The purpose of this commentary paper is to examine the complex support needs of homeless Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander young people with neurocognitive disability (NCD) and to present a service enhancement model – ‘The Guddi for Young People’ – as a culturally and developmentally appropriate response to the needs of this cohort.

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