YOUNG boys at Backtrack are looking for a home.
The organisation that helps keep troubled youth on the straight and narrow has turned its sights on finding stable housing for the kids.
BackTrack coordinator Paul Dawson said at least a quarter of the boys he works with are homeless, living in overcrowded conditions or moving from lounge to lounge.
“A lot of the boys we’ve identified are living in housing situations where there might be eight to 12 people in a house,” he said.
“The idea is to give them a bit of independence.
“There’s two things that we’ve identified that really matter and that’s shelter and safety.”
The relationship between the two organisations started with a contract for fencing in Glen Innes and Gunnedah.
The contract with Homes North means that Backtrack can casually employ six to seven young men.
Backtrack founder Bernie Shakeshaft said finding safe and affordable housing is a problem for his young people.
“It’s difficult for them to enter the rental market for various reasons,” he said.
“The MOU with Homes North will allow our young people to enter the rental market and gain the valuable skills requited for successful transition into living independently.”
Homes North property manager Ces Cromie said providing full-time accommodation for young people makes a huge difference to their lives.
“Having somewhere safe to call home rather than couch surfing or that gamble of where to next, it changes a person,” she said.
“With good supports and a solid home, these kids will just blossom – the world is their oyster.”
The youth organisation have partnered with Homes North to find and manage a house that the boys can call home.
They’re looking for a large, pet-friendly share accommodation to host up to five boys and allow for visits with the dogs they train.
A fully-fenced yard, two bathrooms and two living areas are also on the wish list.
Homes North project officer Andrew Parker said the organisation was looking for a socially-responsible landlord who would be willing to work with the pilot project.
“This is another part of that idea of stepping up for the boys, taking responsibility for their living situation,” he said.
“Homelessness is something that’s really completely under-reported.
“People who are living on couches or in overcrowded situations may not classify themselves as homeless.”
The boys will also be put through a rent-it-keep-it program to give each person an understanding of their rights and responsibilities as a tenant.
The two organisations are looking for donations of household goods.
“This is a pilot project that really has the potential to grow,” Mr Parker said.
“So we really want the community to get behind it.”