Brophy Family and Youth Services is taking the rental crisis plaguing the south-west into its own hands.
Through a new initiative, the social service is looking to find five landlords in five months to give young people searching for a home the opportunity to enter the market through a private or real estate agent rental agreement.
Youth support worker Peta Finnegan said the service was hoping to start conversations with landlords about what it would take for them to open the doors to young people in desperate need of a roof over their heads.
"This came about through a team planning day where the staff realised we needed to do something proactive about the ongoing issues and increasing challenges of the rental market," Ms Finnegan said.
"It's a desperate time. Young people are couch surfing or forced into overcrowded dwellings. We're just trying to do something to give them a look into the property market and to have them considered.
"There are plenty of examples where someone who was couch surfing has a successful tenancy. We need to know from landlords, what will it take to consider these young people as tenants?"
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Ms Finnegan said many of the young people Brophy worked with across the region had applied for upwards of 20 individual private rental properties and competed with 30 to 40 other applicants each time.
Because of either their age, lack of rental history and/or current housing situation the young people were often overlooked.
She said there could often be misconceptions about why young people were couch surfing which could lead to them not being considered as a suitable tenant.
"The young people we work with come from a variety of backgrounds with a diverse range of skills and qualities; they are students, workers, parents and job-seekers," she said.
"Some of these young people come with rental history; some are starting out for their very first time. All of them are seeking a landlord or property manager who is willing to provide them with the opportunity they need to fulfil their potential by offering them stable accommodation.
"There is no obligation the landlords we speak to will have to rent their property to our young people. This is simply about opening the conversation."
The initiative coincides with Youth Homelessness Matters Day on Wednesday.
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