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Australia’s Homeless Youth Project 2008-2013:
THE OASIS Education, Outreach and Community Engagement

What

A multi-dimensional 6-year initiative tackling the spiralling incidence of youth homelessness in Australia.

Why

On any given night in Australia over 100,000 are homeless, of these 44,083 according to the 2011 ABS Census are under 25 years old. The shocking statistics behind youth homelessness inspired the film makers at Shark Island Productions in partnership with The Caledonia Foundation to spend 2 years filming homeless youth on the streets of Sydney to raise awareness of the issue and motivate the community to call for action.

How

A multi-pronged approach comprising:

  • REPORT: The National Youth Commission's Report: Australia's Homeless Youth collation of evidence based research collated through the National Youth Commission Inquiry into Youth Homelessness, an independent community inquiry process that generated 80 recommendations for action
  • FILM: THE OASIS an observational documentary filmed over two years, highlighting the plight of homeless youth and screened nationally on the ABC1 TV
  • PARTNERSHIP: The Salvation Army, OASIS Youth Support Network
  • EDUCATION STRATEGY: an education and outreach initiative involving the donation of The Oasis DVD and study guide to every secondary school and selected community agencies in Australia.
  • OUTREACH STRATEGY: School: Youth Homelessness Matters & Teaching English through Social Justice Schools Curriculum Resources

Outcomes

See:

  • The National Youth Commission’s report Australia’s Homeless Youth (400 pages) NYC Report PDF
  • NYC report project summary (60 pages) NYC Summary Report PDF
  • http://www.theoasismovie.com.au/
  • 1.3 million viewers of THE OASIS on ABC1 TV 08/04/08
  • Over 7,000 DVDs distributed to schools, community partners and the Salvation Army
  • Over 3,000 download of new curriculum resources for secondary and tertiary educators
  • THE OASIS Impact Statement 2008-2013

Impact

The impact of this project continues to unfold, in both tangible and intangible ways. The unprecedented media attention generated by this project has raised awareness of the issue across schools and the Australian community. The findings of the NYC informed the Federal Government’s Green and White Paper at the time. The White paper, in September 2008 set out parameters for government policy on homelessness. Ultimately, it is hoped that there will be a national plan and strategy for a community-wide response to youth homelessness in order to significantly reduce and alleviate youth homelessness by 2030. There is increased interest from young people, members of the community in support of The Salvation Army and other youth homelessness non-profit organisations to effect social change.

Partner Statement by David Mackenzie, one of the four National Youth Commissioners:

“The combination of the National Youth Commission Inquiry and the making of THE OASIS was a bold big picture effort by philanthropy to make a difference on an issue such as ‘youth homelessness’. The inquiry itself was a response to neglect by Government over a long period of time and a model of gathering evidence in a rigorous way while at the same time engaging with the community through open public hearings and media. It could not have happened without funding from The Caledonia Foundation nor could it have been accomplished as a government-funded project. The independence of the Inquiry was a core foundation.

On the other hand, the timing was partly accidental, but as 2007 unfolded, it became clearer that a major report being published in the months after a change in Government could serve to stimulate government policy action. The National Youth Commission did not release a statement during the Federal election campaign but briefed both sides of politics on the emerging findings and some of the policy thinking coming out of the Inquiry. The NYC report Australia’s Homeless Youth has attempted to set down some of the key parameters for a long-range effort on youth homelessness with the ultimate goal of eliminating youth homelessness as the problem it is today.”

- David Mackenzie, Swinburne University, Melbourne.

Links to further web resources: