BYS has received $14,000 of funding from Queensland Police Service as part of their Communities Against Substance Abuse (CASM) program. The funding is being used to provide BYS outreach services between February and May 2018 targeting young people identified as vulnerable in the CBD.
The goals of the BYS Street Outreach program are:
- To engage with vulnerable, rough sleeping young people in Brisbane CBD
- To facilitate access or return to safe accommodation
- To provide harm minimisation strategies to young people that are using in CBD public spaces, with a particular focus on inhalant use (Volatile Substance Misuse)
Eight shifts were completed in a month from February to March 2018, with a total of 89 occasions of contact made with young people in the age range 12-25 years. 53 new young people were engaged and 36 recurring engagements were made.
A range of support was provided by youth workers including providing travel warrants, food and water, material assistance, harm reduction advice, referrals and appointment reminders.
Over the month there has been an increase in positive engagement, reaching the point where young people are now waiting for the outreach team in some locations and engaging positively/pro-actively. It appears that trust is increasing, and word of mouth is spreading.
The primary observed behaviour change is increased willingness to engage with outreach workers. Young people are observed to be increasingly responsive to workers, and to be waiting for workers to arrive and greeting them on some occasions.
While some young people are recognised as already engaged with BYS support, outreach is providing a strong level of engagement with young people not previously engaged with BYS support.
Some harm reduction advice has been provided to young people in relation to substance use, however it is too soon to record behaviour change in this area.
Some young people have expressed interest in being transported to Clarence St to use the Alcohol and Drug drop-in centre, contributing to broader service engagement and harm reduction.