A BOOMING real estate market across regional NSW has been good news for home owners but is creating a crisis among young people struggling to put a roof over their heads.
And Bathurst is not immune to the issue with Central West support agency Veritas House seeing 125 homeless youths in Bathurst in the past 10 months alone, including 30 who have used the agency's crisis accommodation.
Figures released on Wednesday to coincide with Youth Homelessness Matters Day show rents across the Central Tablelands have jumped 18.8 per cent in the past 12 months, in part due to tree changers who fled the major cities during the COVID-19 pandemic.
That's provided a windfall for property investors but created a rental affordability crisis which is adding to the tragedy of youth homelessness.
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Veritas House operations manager youth homelessness and early intervention Sarah Luff said many of their clients had come from troubled backgrounds and were "vulnerable people to start with".
"Anecdotally, we are definitely seeing massive issues in Bathurst and across the Central West," she said.
"I had a look in Bathurst today and there were just places to rent for $200 a week. The Youth Allowance is about $500 a fortnight so for a young person on their own it's just not affordable.
"We used to be able to get young people into housing on their own but now they just can't afford to pay the rent."
Ms Luff said Bathurst youth homelessness was a "hidden problem" for a range of reasons.
"It can be the resilience of people who are trying to solve their own housing issues or they might not be confident about accessing our service," she said.
"Or sometimes they don't know the service exists."
She said homeless youths often came from difficult backgrounds that could include domestic violence, poverty and trauma, but sometimes were simply "young people trying to launch themselves into the world without much family support".
A new national campaign to tackle youth homelessness, labelled Everybody's Home, was launched on Wednesday with spokesperson Kate Colvin urging the Federal Government to take action to make it easier for young people to access housing.
"Across all of Australia, just four rental listings out of 77,000 in December last year were affordable to someone on Youth Allowance," Ms Colvin said.
"With youth unemployment at 12.9 per cent, many have no choice but to rely on welfare, but it is clearly not enough to secure housing."
Anyone needing housing support can phone Veritas House on 6332 3882 or drop into the office at 106-108 Russell Street, Bathurst.
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