Young people at risk of homelessness in Griffith are set to face a major set back if the federal government goes ahead with planned cuts to Youth Allowance says youth support service.
The COVID mental health impact on young people has been significant in Griffith, but none have felt it more than young people experiencing housing insecurity.
"Young people would be accessing the refuge whether there was a pandemic or not, but youth homelessness has been exacerbated due to COVID," Deb Longhurst from the Youth Links refuge said.
The added Youth Allowance boost introduced as one of the economic measures to support young people in 2020 during COVID proved highly beneficial for the young people Youthlinks supports said Ms Longhurst.
"With the COVID supplement young people were able to save a bit of money and so we had managed to exit two people," she said.
"Youth Allowance needs to stay at least 80 per cent of the base wage because you can't survive on anything less than that."
Ms Longhurst explained that the problem with young people being on such a low income is that they are unable to exit the refuge as Youthlinks must ensure young people have every opportunity to sustain an independent life.
"The average rent for a two bedroom property, because there are very few one bedroom properties in Griffith, being $280 a week plus, leaves young people completely locked out of any permanent and sustainable accommodation," Ms Longhurst said.
The Area News contacted the federal department of Social Services for comment on permanently increasing Youth Allowance to a livable wage for young people. A department spokesperson responded,
"The Coronavirus Supplement is designed to provide temporary, short-term financial assistance to help individuals and families in these uncertain times, and address the economic impacts of COVID-19.
"The supplement, along with other COVID-19 measures, has been extended until 31 March 2021."
Deputy CEO of Linking Communities Network Kirrilly Salvestro explained that cutting the COVID supplement will push young people further to the fringes.
"It will make it impossible for our clients to access rentals in Griffith, pay their rent and then be able to afford every day items and food." Ms Salvestro said.
"I don't think the government really understands how hard it is to manage on 40 dollars a day for anybody, young people included."
"I don't think they understand about the impact of reducing benefits on a client's well being."