We’ve been awarded a FutureSteps Grant!

Stanmore House, a property to be renovated using the FutureSteps grant program.

The Burdekin Association is excited to reveal that we are the recipient of a FutureSteps Grant of $89,000 to be spent on renovating one of the houses we manage for young people transitioning from out of home care to semi-independent living in Sydney. The grant will help three additional young people transition into semi-independent living through the better use of space in the property. 

What is FutureSteps?

FutureSteps is a Lendlease Social Impact Fund that’s grounded in the belief that everyone needs to call a place home. Lendlease partners with The Burdekin Association to achieve long term impact through increasing the availability of safe and appropriate housing, the number of pathways to education and employment, and participation in the community. 

The FutureSteps Social Impact Fund focuses on addressing homelessness and increasing housing supply for those at risk of or experiencing homelessness. The grants typically awarded range in amounts between $20,000 and $100,000 and one of their target groups includes young people. 

It all came about on Community Day – a day when Lendlease volunteers spend their time and skills to make a difference in the communities where they live and work. Thirty volunteers spent a day at our property doing painting, gardening, picture hanging, furniture building and much more in Stanmore. Katherine Bushell from Lendlease suggested that we apply for the FutureSteps grant. It took us one month to put it all together.

Claire Oxlade, Property and Asset Lead at The Burdekin Association

“Our tradie, Kevin, looked at our plans to reconfigure the layout of the space at the property to accommodate three more young people. He suggested that it would work,” continued Claire.  

During the grant application process, we submitted the property’s plans, renovation costings, and explained how we would reconfigure the layout of the property to create the extra space for an additional three young people in our care. For Lendlease to give us the entire grant – $89,000 – is amazing! We will be able to use the space more sensibly.

Claire Oxlade, Property and Asset Lead at The Burdekin Association

A self-contained two-bedroom unit can now be created at the front of the property. This reconfiguration will help to provide wraparound care for the young person living there – as they will remain close to staff and the other young people living in the remainder of the house, but also have space to themselves. It will potentially be perfect for a young single parent, who may need support, but also privacy and quiet.

The reconfiguration will also involve the renovation of the current staff office space and combined kitchen into a studio staff office / bedroom / kitchenette. 

“The staff at the property use the office a great deal, and renovating the current space to allow them to work and then be able to sleep overnight in a comfortable area will make such a difference,” Claire continued.

A staff bedroom upstairs at the property will then be released, to be used by an additional young person. 

The project has enthused local architect and sessional academic, Jamileh Jahangiri of Orsi Architecture Studio, who met with Burdekin staff members during a recent networking event. She has offered to provide her architectural knowledge free of charge and will project manage the renovation of the property. Jamileh will provide concept designs, design briefs and a schedule of proposed materials and finishes and furniture layouts. She is keen to see how the young residents can be involved in the renovation process – choosing paint colours, designing the layout of the rooms, and learning a bit of design along the way. 

If there are funds remaining once these renovations are complete, we hope to remove the kitchen cabinets, making the main kitchen more open plan, allowing for ‘Master Chef’ style cooking workshops to be held for the young people.

It’s so exciting. We wouldn’t normally be able to do anything like this. If we can make it more homely, well that’s my mission accomplished

Claire Oxlade, Property and Asset Lead at The Burdekin Association

What next?

The Burdekin Association is always looking for suppliers of white goods – fridges, washing machines, dryers, microwaves, air fryers and blenders, along with coffee tables, BBQs, outdoor furniture and kitchen utensils – to help our young people live comfortably in such a home. To donate a white good or to help our young people, please click here.  

Causes of youth homelessness – family breakdown

The Burdekin Association youth homelessness services

Family breakdown is one of the leading causes of youth homelessness in Australia today.

According to AIHW, in 2020–21, around 41,700 people aged 15–24 presented alone to SHS agencies, accounting for 15% of all SHS clients.

The main reasons these young people presented were:

  • family and domestic violence (17% or around 7,000 clients).
  • housing crisis (17% or around 7,000 clients).
  • relationship/family breakdown (13% or over 5,200 clients).

Other reasons include:

  • Difficult family situations such as parental drug and alcohol abuse, abuse, neglect
  • Leaving a parental home without stable employment
  • Leaving state care without an appropriate plan in place
  • Mental illness
  • Alcohol and other drug issues
  • Rejection or trauma associated with gender identity or expression
  • Discrimination in the private rental market due to lower income or lack of rental references
  • Insecure employment
  • Less access to social housing

Homelessness and the LGBTIQA+ community

In 2019 the Australian Research Centre in Sex, Health and Society (ARCSHS) at La Trobe University, with support from Rainbow Health Australia and Rainbow Network conducted a report called Writing Themselves in 4. Researchers asked 6,418 LGBTIQA+ people, aged 14 to 21 about their experiences with education, homelessness, harassment, assault, mental health, community connections and more.

23.6 per cent had experienced homelessness and for 11.5 per cent it was in the past year. This was often directly related to family rejection of participants being LGBTIQA+.

In the Snapshot of Mental Health and Suicide Prevention Statistics for LGBTQIA+ People from LGBTIQA+ LGBTIQA+ Health Australia. Young people aged 16 to 17 were over three times more likely to report high or very high levels of psychological distress.

The Journeys Home report found that Family rejection was a major issue for LGBTIQA+ people, and their pathway to homelessness is more complex with discrimination also coming from the housing sector.

Getting help

There are a large number of support services available today, both for young people and their families. Having open conversations about sexuality and gender is helpful, as is keeping an open mind and above all letting your child know they are loved and accepted for who they are. If you are a parent who is having a hard time, getting support from any of these organisations may be helpful. You can also ask us, we assist families and community with a range of support services.

We believe everyone deserves to feel safe, to be loved and have a home. Let us know if you found this article helpful or if there is anything you would add?

10 reasons why young people are awesome

The Burdekin Association youth services

We are all about the awesomeness of young people and while we try to remind you now and then of this fact, we thought a whole blog dedicated to what we think about young people is a great idea.

Unfortunately young people often get a bit of a bad rap. There are way too many stereotypes and inaccuracies shared in general and even more about the vulnerable young people who don’t need bad publicity but really need our help.

Given that we work with young people all day every day, through the good and the bad, we consider ourselves experts and know many positives attributes that stand out.

Here are some – maybe you can think of others? Some of these might not seem like the teens you’re talking to buuuut that might be just the teen you experience in that particular situation.

  • Fun – young people are really funny – silly funny, sometimes pretty witty and even trying their hand on dark humour as they learn about the world around them and the people in it.
  • Creative – they have so much energy for things that interest them and they’re full of great ideas they may or may not share with you.
  • Optimistic – young people are mostly optimistic about life because they’re just starting out – most things they are still to experience. Even young people who have already faced multiple challenges in their lives can still see the positive.
  • Emotional – they have intense emotions and can shift gears pretty quickly, this means moods can lift in minutes and outbursts are forgotten just as quickly.
  • Social – young people are also really social – but might not seem it around adults, or in situations where they are unsure – just watch when they’re with their friends!
  • Spontaneous – young people are curious, naturally seeking out new adventures and can be pretty amazing with change. They take risks that we never would – the dangerous kind yes but also risks with life, relationships, school and identity.
  • Independent – given the right tools and encouragement, young people are actually really capable and can step out to all sorts of responsibilities.
  • Technologically advanced – do we even need to explain this one? They know everything about technology and think adults are pretty dumb when it comes to this stuff.
  • Kind – young people can be really kind and empathetic, they genuinely want to help others and care about the world around them. Young people also want to be liked, to succeed and to make us proud.
  • Loyal – young people will always stand by and stick up for their friends and family – no matter what!

I mean we think this list makes young people pretty amazing to be around – what about you? Would you add more to the list? We are continuously amazed by young people and how they can overcome just about anything!

Youth Homelessness NSW

If you know a young person who is having a difficult time, please shout out for help, there are many resources available including our own phone: 02 8976 1777 or email, at the Hub, Lifeline, headspace, Kids Helpline and local services listed on the Inner West Council website and Northern Beaches Council website.

Volunteer Week and 3 Years of our Volunteer Program

Volunteer with young people

Volunteer Week is Australia’s largest annual celebration of volunteering and will be held on 15 – 21 May 2023. The week also means the Burdekin Volunteer Program turns three!

This year the theme for Volunteers Week is The Change Makers. The week recognises the vital support that millions of volunteers provide to their communities and encourages people to consider volunteering.

The value of volunteerism within Burdekin

In the three years, since we launched the Burdekin Volunteer Program, our volunteers have added a considerable contribution to our organisation. Infact, in our 2021/22 financial report, we measured the cost benefit and estimated total savings during this financial year up of $45,000, a monthly saving of about $3,700.

But of course it’s about much more than the economic benefits. Volunteerism builds healthier, more resilient communities. The practical support provided by our volunteers often fills a gap that otherwise might not be fulfilled. Not to mention the beautiful relationships that develop between our young people and volunteers.

It’s a win win

Volunteering is bidirectional because everyone gains, whether a volunteer is helping a young person with education support, practising a skill like cooking or just going for a walk or coffee together and keeping each other company. Volunteers feel great satisfaction in making a difference and young people give something back in their own way too.

Do you live in Inner West or Southeast Sydney?

Our Volunteer Program in the Northern Beaches is pretty robust, in the Inner West and Southeast Sydney areas we need more volunteers – particularly volunteers who would be prepared to do L driving supervision hours with a young person. If L driving isn’t your thing, there are other volunteer mentoring activities available. See what else our volunteers are doing here and here.

Have you got two hours per week?

Many of our young people aged 16 or 17 want to get their Ls but they don’t have a trusted adult in their life who could drive the required hours with them. Burdekin can provide the car. In return, we seek good confident drivers who have about 2 hours each week to support a young person. All young people will have had at least 5 professional lessons before being matched with a volunteer.

Supporting a young person with L driving supervision is such a fantastic way to connect with them and to provide the opportunity to get their licence. Don’t we all remember what a fantastic feeling it is to finally get ones licence!!!

Is volunteering for you? We would love to hear from you! Please either email: or complete the form below. Read up on all of our other volunteer related posts by typing volunteer into our search bar.

To celebrate Volunteer Week, we host our volunteers at an annual event during volunteer week, where they will be presented with certificates of appreciation. More on this soon!

Confront the Crisis – Housing for all

We recently attended the Confront the Crisis – Housing for All summit on ending homelessness and confronting the housing crisis in NSW.

Confront the Crisis

Confront the Crisis is a campaign by Community Housing Industry Association NSW which calls on each and every MP, each and every party in NSW to confront the housing crisis by committing to real, long-term investment in community housing ahead of the state election this March.

Housing for All Summit

Housing for All – NSW Pre- Election Town Hall event, was organised by Homelessness NSW and The Community Housing Industry Association NSW.

The event, taking place during the NSW state election campaign, was a chance for our political leaders, the sector, and the community to take another step towards a future NSW where everyone in NSW has a safe place to call home.

Hosted by journalist Joe Hildebrand, speakers included:

  • Mark Degotardi, Community Housing Industry Association NSW
  • Trina Jones, Homelessness NSW
  • Hal Pawson, City Futures Research Centre, UNSW
  • Sydney Lord Mayor, Clover Moore
  • The Hon Rose Jackson, NSW Labor
  • Jenny Leong, MP NSW Greens
  • Alex Greenwich, MP Independent
  • Adina Cirson, The Property Council
Housing for All summit host Joe Hildebrand

Jenny Leong MP, Alex Greenwich MP and Rose Jackson MP discussing the NSW housing and homelessness crisis and the strategic and collaborative approach needed to solve the problem.

via @CHIA_NSW twitter

Key workers are struggling to find a place to live. Young people are losing hope. “The market will not fix itself. We need government intervention to provide essential affordable housing stock.” – The Hon. Rose Jackson, NSW Shadow Minister for Water, Housing and Homelessness.

via @CHIA_NSW twitter

“At the current rate of investment in NSW, it would take around 80 years to build enough social and affordable housing for the households currently on the NSW social housing waitlist.” – Trina Jones from @HomelessnessNSW

via @CHIA_NSW twitter

UNSW’s Hal Pawson talking about how NSW net supply of social housing is falling while demand is rising. Census data shows 144,000 households would be eligible for social housing – far more than the official NSW social housing waitlist shows.

via @CHIA_NSW twitter

City of Sydney Lord Mayor Clover Moore and CHIA NSW and @HomelessnessNSW Housing for All event calling for sustained government investment in social and affordable housing.

via @CHIA_NSW twitter

“We have an opportunity to maximise the investment from the Housing Australia Future Fund.” 8,000 people joined the NSW social housing waitlist last year. CHIA NSW’s @MarkDegotardi says now is the time for action.

Next steps

Sign the petition and further resources.

Ending Homelessness Together campaign.

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.