The coronavirus pandemic is making it difficult for young people to break into the rental market and stay off the streets in Ipswich.
Amanda Margerison, of Ipswich Community Youth Services, says an increase demand compounded by a shortage of homes is causing issues for local young people, leaving many to sleep rough or couch surf.
Young people, through not fault of their own, have limited or no rental history, and work in casual employment, making it hard for them to secure a house in a highly competitive market.
"They are competing with dual income families or couples who are all vying for the same houses," Ms Margerison.
She points out about 28,000 young people are currently homeless in Australia, of which three per cent are sleeping rough.
"The other amount of young people are living in overcrowded houses, so they might be couch surfing.
"And there is a large percentage living in crisis accommodation."
The affordability of Ipswich has seen more people from interstate relocate to the area, which is driving up rental prices and leaving fewer properties available.
It is having a flow on effect in terms of increased pressure on housing and homelessness services in Ipswich.
"What is key when supporting young people early intervention.
"So, if we can start speaking to young people early to ensure they get the message about what they need to get a house.
"It is also about how we can boost their resilience in this space, so assisting them into secure employment, to boost their income, to make sure they present well at housing inspections."
LISTEN: Ms Margerison explains how the rental squeeze is impacting young people in Ipswich.