National Youth Homelessness Conference 2021


It has been two years since the last National Youth Homelessness Conference. This year people were invited to contribute their ideas to a National Strategy to end youth homelessness. The event was held on-line and both, our Patron, Prof Brian Burdekin, AO and our CEO, Justene Gordon, contributed to the conference.  The conference was organised by the National Youth Commission.

Our Patron Professor Brian Burdekin, AO opened the conference with the following words:

The Covid-19 pandemic closely followed by widespread bush fires and floods all have been extremely stressful – including for many young Australians – particularly for our most disadvantaged young people.

Together with:

  • unaffordable house prices;
  • unaffordable rents;
  • at the same time as the Federal Government is scaling back “rental subsidies” (the “National Affordability Rental Scheme” introduced in 2008).

There is an increased risk of homelessness for many thousands of people – and the evidence I have is supported by warnings coming from numerous community associations dealing with homeless people and people already in serious financial difficulty.... continue reading the full speech here.

Youth Homelessness Matters Conference

"I would like to give my full support to this collective movement for a National Strategy and a commitment from Government to ending - or at least greatly reducing youth homelessness" - Prof. Brian Burdekin 

"We certainly have the resources to end homelessness - and the ability to look after vulnerable young Australians - both in our major cities and regional and rural areas." - Prof. Brian Burdekin #NYHC2021 #EndYouthHomelessness #HousingForAll

Important bites from the NYHC2021

Unaccompanied children who are homeless
Income support should be changed
young leaders Harpreet Dhillon (TL) and MC Jahin Tanvir (TR) at the National Youth Homelessness Conference.

"Unaccompanied children who are homeless need holistic care, not just accommodation" - Dr. Catherine Robinson


So many ways in which the #IncomeSupport system should be changed. Needs urgent and dramatic change.

#NYHC2021 #EndYouthHomelessness

Great work from young leaders Harpreet Dhillon (TL) and MC Jahin Tanvir (TR) at the National Youth Homelessness Conference. They were part of a panel discussion on the specific cohorts of young people that may need a targeted response to ensure no one is left behind. #NYHC2021

"I wouldn't treat a dog the way people who are homeless with mental health and AOD issues are treated" - Peter Wearne @VACCHO_org#NYHC2021 #YouthHomelessness #YouthMentalHealth

How children under 16 experience homelessness
Young people have suggested group homes

It’s pretty disheartening to think of how many children under the age of 16 years experience homelessness. Lots of ideas being generated about stopping this in its tracks.






"Young people have suggested that we have group homes and group independent living homes where young people can live together and learn together" - Dawyte Clancy, Freedom Fight Project #NYHC2021 #EndYouthHomelessness

"If we invest in mental health and education then more young people will be able to step out seamlessly" - Justene Gordon @BurdekinAssocon transitioning from #OutOfHomeCare #OoHC #NYHC2021 #EndYouthHomelessness

The biggest change needs to be peer-related. Peer-support in all aspects - Melissa Barber, Youth Advocate #EndYouthHomelessness #YouthMentalHealth #NYHC2021

As housing affordability worsens, the income support system is completely inadequate - Damiya Hayden @antipovertycent #NYHC2021 #EndYouthHomelessness #Auspol #IncomeSupport

"You shouldn't have to be homeless, on the brink of disaster, to qualify for care after 18. It should be an entitlement" - @Paul_G_McDonald @The_HomeStretch #NYHC2021 #EndYouthHomelessness

"Let's call out this ridiculous policy around the country. Let's show respect for young people. Let's end this ridiculous cut off at 18th birthdays." @Paul_G_McDonald @The_HomeStretch #NYHC2021

"We get a lot of 15, 16, 17-year-olds come into the service with, no leaving plans, nothing in place. We have to make sure that if we raise the age to 21 that we aren't just pushing that process back." - Justene Gordon @BurdekinAssoc #NYHC2021 #EndYouthHomelessness

Mental health issues are a key risk factor for youth homelessness. headspace CEO @JasonTrethowan @YDA_Australia

If we could agree to remove disadvantage in society we would remove homelessness. - @FionaPattenMLC #NYHC2021 #EndYouthHomelessness #HousingForAll

Young people are scared to come off Centrelink
"Young people are scared to come off #Centrelink for work because their cost of living increases way more than they are used to or can cope with. They are scared to lose the support they've previously had." - Samantha Wilson #NYHC2021 #YouthEmployment #EmploymentSupport

We acknowledge the Aboriginal people of the Cadigal and Gayamaygal Clans. We acknowledge the Country on which we live, work, and gather as being Aboriginal land.

We acknowledge the lands, waterways and skies that are connected to Aboriginal people. We honour them and pay our deepest respects to their Elders past, present and emerging.

We respect their rightful place within our communities, and we value their ancient cultural knowledge and practices.

Aboriginal Flag
Torres Straight Island Flag

We deeply respect that this will always be Aboriginal land and we will honour and follow the first peoples’ values in caring for the Country and for preserving their culture.

We deeply value that Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people are the oldest living culture in the world and we will continue to work with their peoples and communities to ensure their cultures endure and remain strong.