You can’t do much without cash.
If you’re not working, you can get different kinds of income support from Centrelink. These include Youth Allowance (under 22 years of age), Newstart (22+), and specific payments for people who are parents, carers, sick or disabled. To find out if you’re eligible, get a claim form from the Centrelink website, or go to your nearest office. There are fact sheets which tell you how to claim payments from Centrelink. Download them from www.welfarerights.org.au or call 1800 226 028 for a copy.
33-35 Waratah St, Katoomba or 107-109 Macquarie St, Springwood
Get a lawyer
You might need legal help if you’re in trouble with the law or if you’re the victim of a crime. Either way, it’s important to know your legal rights. The law is there to protect you, not just punish you, so check out the following info.
What to do if you get approached by the police
To know what to do if you get approached by the police, head to www.legalaid.nsw.gov.au and search for “get street smart." For information about what to do if you’ve been given a fine or Penalty Notice visit www.iclc.org.au.
Provides qualified lawyers to people who need legal help, but can't afford to pay full price. LawAccess NSW is a free helpline where you can get information, advice and referral to a lawyer.
95 Henry St
4732 3077, Youth Hotline (Under 18s) 1800 10 18 10 or LawAccess 1300 888 529
Elizabeth Evatt Community Legal Centre
Free Legal services for anyone living in the Blue Mountains, Lithgow, Oberon and Bathurst. Open Monday to Friday 9:30 am - 4:30 pm.
4 Station Street
1300 363 967 or 4782 4155
Children's Legal Service
If you're under 18, this Legal Aid program can give you free legal advice and representation in Children's Court. It also provides legal advice to juveniles in all detention centres.
Level 1, 160 Marsden St, Parramatta
Police Youth Liaison Officer
Springwood Police Station
Get a room
Depending on the circumstances, there are three different ways you can find accommodation in the Blue Mountains: Youth refuges, public housing, and private renting.
If you need a place to stay tonight, start with the following numbers and websites.
If you need to find a place to live urgently, and there's no relative or friend you can stay with, you can head for a youth refuge - a house for young people who need a temporary place to stay. Most youth refuges are free, but there are pretty strict rules about what you can and can't do while you're living there. For safety reasons, you have to ring a refuge first to get a referral.
The Grove Youth Outreach and Support Service
This service can provide referrals to refuges and other accommodation services, and will even help you get to appointments. Once you've got a place, they provide ongoing support to help you avoid becoming homeless in future - with living skills (budgeting, cooking, saving money), counselling and education opportunities
64 Bringelly Road, Kingswood
Marist Youth Care
Short and medium term care for young people aged 15 - 24 who are homeless or at risk of becoming homeless.
36-38 First Ave, Blacktown
YPOP - Richmond PRA
This is an accommodation support service and rehabilitation program for young people aged 16 - 25 who have been diagnosed with a mental illness. They also run a drop-in centre for people aged 18 - 30 with art groups, cooking classes and a pool table. You will need a referral first, available through Headspace
1/80 Henry Street
252 High Street
Private renting is when you rent a house or room directly from the owner or through a real estate agent. To find out more about how it all works and your rights as a renter (or tenant), go to www.tenants.org.au.
Can't afford it?
Rentstart is a government scheme to help you get started in the rental market. If you're over 18, an Australian resident, and have less than $1000 in the bank, you may be eligible. The scheme helps you to get the bond money together, and in some cases will pay your rent for a week or two just to get you going.
Go to www.housingpathways.nsw.gov.au to download the application forms (they’re under “Private Rental Assistance”) or call 1300 468 746 for more info.
Outreach tenancy advice
If you're currently renting and having problems with your landlord, contact the Blue Mountains Tenants Advice and Advocacy Service at the Elizabeth Evatt Community Legal Centre in Katoomba. Tenants services available on Mon and Wed.
Public housing is owned by the government, and is usually cheaper than renting from a private landlord. If you apply, you may be on a waiting list for a long time. For info on public housing, go to the Dept of Housing's website at www.housing.nsw.gov.au or phone 1300 468 746. The nearest offices to the Blue Mountains are:
Wentworth Community Housing
Katoomba Shop 2, 23-27 Cascade St
Penrith Level 1, Suite 1002, 29-57, Station St
Link2Home and The Right Door
The best number to try if you need a place to stay right now. They cover the whole of NSW but they know who to put you in touch with in the Blue Mountains. The service is available 24 hours a day but the best time to catch them is before 10pm. They can also help with your current living situation if you need some direction on what to do and who to talk to.
- Link2Home 1800 152 1552
- The Right Door 1800 760 071
Platform Youth Services
If you’ve just become homeless or you’re worried that you might have to leave home call Platform anytime 24/7. They can help you access Nepean Blue Mountains Young People’s Homelessness and housing Support Service. This is a bunch of different services rolled into one which makes it easy to access the best support for you.
The Glue Factory
If you’re between 15 and 25 and need to talk to someone about your housing needs, this is the place to call, or you can drop in Mon-Thurs 9.30 am - 11.30 am.
Katoomba 31 Waratah Street