BYS Alcohol and Other Drug Workers in collaboration with the Youth Support Program deliver street-based outreach to young people in public spaces:
- Monday afternoon outreach at the State Library of Queensland (finished for this year)
- Thursday night – Fortnightly – Street-based outreach at the Red Cross Night Café and the Brisbane CBD
- Friday morning street-based outreach in the Brisbane CBD and South Brisbane with a view to increasing to West End
At times, outreach staff have engaged with 15+ young people in one shift that have been sleeping rough, this is more prominent in school holidays and warm months.
Morning outreach staff have engaged with young people sleeping in nothing but the bare minimum of clothing on cold mornings where temperatures have been less than 10 degrees Celsius and have provided safety checks, warm blankets, hot food and Go Cards to ensure young people are safe and supported.
Young people that we engage with through outreach have ranged between 10-25 years old who are homeless, at risk of homelessness and who may have experienced:
- Drug and/or alcohol use including volatile substances that increase their risk of poor physical and/or mental health issues
- Domestic/Family violence
- Witness of Domestic/Family violence
- Assault whilst sleeping rough
- Offending behaviours
- Police and/or justice involvement
- Child Safety involvement
- Sexual assault
- Sex work
- No income
- Disengagement from family/school/positive supports
Through street-based outreach, BYS are able to provide emergency support including water, food, blankets to young people who are at extreme risk sleeping rough. Through building trust, BYS workers are also able to encourage young people to access BYS services and move out of crisis.
Last year, BYS saw a 92% reduction in rough sleeping of the young people we supported.
To do more we need a Ute!
The team is also continuing to submit grant applications to secure funding for a Ute that is dedicated to the workers on outreach.
Securing a Ute that can be dedicated to the outreach team to stock with basic food, water and blankets, along with dignity packs, will support the BYS street outreach program to reach more vulnerable young people, ensure their safety and help them transition to safe and secure accommodation.
“My sister, boyfriend and I were going through a bit of a rough patch, sleeping in tents at parks in Brisbane. We had tried refuges and shelters before, but it didn’t really seem like anyone wanted to bother helping us, as we are young. Then BYS came along and they really helped us get the place we have today. They would come and pick us up, gave us food vouchers when we had no food and money…Without BYS, we wouldn’t have that bit of hope that maybe we will get there.”
Good working relationships have been essential!
Through street-based outreach, the team has formed good working relationships with:
- State Library of Queensland Staff including security to advocate for young people who access the space.
- Red Cross through the Night Café, supporting their staff with brief and crisis interventions, referrals, emergency relief and drugs/alcohol/mental health support.
- Kuril Dhagun at the State Library of Queensland supporting young Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander people to access services and support.
We appreciate the support of these organisations in what can be a challenging role.