About SYFS

About SYFS and your donation

Southern Youth and Family Services (SYFS) is a local Not-for-Profit that has the main purpose of supporting and caring for vulnerable and homeless young people (up to twenty four years of age) or those at risk of disadvantage and homelessness. SYFS also supports the families of these young people which may include parents, grand parents, siblings, other extended family members and even foster families.

What we do? 

This work provides Supported Accommodation, Community Social Housing, Health and Outreach Services, Out of Home Care Services, Family Services including counselling, parenting programs and early intervention, and Education, Employment and Training programs.

SYFS operated 47 different services through 20 different funding programs in 2022-23, assisting 23,419 young people and families.  

Your impact 

All money raised from Ride4Rotary will help fund the ongoing support and delivery of SYFS Education, Employment and Training programs and improve the quality of life and wellbeing of our young people and their families. 

These programs focus on assisitng vulnerable young people in the areas of - 

  • Employment Skills
  • Personal Development
  • Selecting Training Courses and Applications
  • Educational Support

From July - December 2023, over 50 young people who participated in SYFS Network EET programs. Those who extied the program in this timeframe  achieved the following outcomes - 

  • 80% began, maintained or returned to training
  • 27% began, maintained or returned to employment
  • 33% began, maintained or returned to education

Further to this 48% of clients achieved accreditied training in this time through SYFS RTO Hospitality Course. This is a major factor in the EET Programs overall success and requires significant investment in facilites, equipment and resources.


*Kevin - July 2023

Kevin* was first referred to the SYFS EET program via our Crisis Accommodation service at the age of 17 after finding himself homeless after a family breakdown. At this time Kevin lacked stability and self-confidence.

Kevin participated in the SYFS EET Aboriginal Cultural Program and also an Outdoor Adventure Workshop which strengthened his self-confidence, communication skills and taught him about working as a part of a team.

After working with Kevin to identify his interests and create a career pathway, SYFS presented Kevin with an opportunity to apply for a Bootcamp Construction Course in April of 2023 and with their help and support he did apply and was accepted into the course.

This was an 8-week program based in Nowra, Monday to Friday 8am – 4pm and during this time Kevin left his social housing accommodation in Wollongong at around 6am every weekday in order to catch a train to Nowra and attend, returning back at the service at around 7pm of an evening.

In order to meet the course criteria, SYFS EET provided Kevin with meals, mandatory workwear such as pants, shirts and boots and also an Opal card in order to catch public transport to and from the course.

Whilst Kevin did continue experiencing some family issues throughout this time, with the support of SYFS EET staff, he was able to remain focused on the training course and as a result missed just 1 day of the 8-week program due to circumstances out of his control.

Upon completion of the bootcamp Kevin received a Certificate 2 in construction and stated that the experience helped him immensely, not only in learning the trade but to grow as a person and further develop his confidence and ability to work efficiently in a team environment.

Just a few weeks later Kevin applied for and gained employment as a Stone Masonry worker, and he continues to go from strength to strength.

* real name not used for Privacy reasons

Australian Institute of Health and Welfare (AIHW) data revealed that in 2019/20 a total of 9,947 12-17 year olds accessed Specialists Homelesness Services (SHS) in NSW.

Two thirds of those presented without a parent or guardian and of these the main reason for seeking help was relationship breakdown and conflict (26%) followed by Domestic Violence (10%).

The NSW Communities and Justice website shows there are 610 people registered on the waiting list for Social Housing just in the Shellharbour region alone.

The wait time for Student / 1 Bedroom properties, 2 bedroom properties and 4 plus bedroom properties is 5 - 10 years.

Statewide 46,087 people were on the waiting list as of June 30, 2020.

Last year across 47 different services, SYFS assited over 23,419 people by providing Supported Accommodation, Community Social Housing, Health and Outreach Services, Out of Home Care Services and Family Services including Counselling, Parenting Programs, Early Intervention, and Education, Employment and Training programs.