youth homelessness


Expanding opportunities for Avalon Youth Hub

Avalon Youth Hub staff and young people

Exciting news has emerged for young people and their families on the Northern Beaches of Sydney, as Northern Beaches Council has endorsed a significant development for Avalon Youth Hub!

The former Avalon Customer Contact Centre will now be offered to Avalon Youth Hub, enabling the expansion of its services and providing additional support to tackle the challenges faced by young people. This announcement couldn’t come at a better time with the increasing concern of mental health and wellbeing of young people.

The Avalon Youth Hub is a successful collaboration of support services, with The Burdekin Association as the lead agency. The service providers work together to make a difference to the mental health and wellbeing of young people, providing free one-on-one counselling, case management and mentoring, advice, referrals and general support to young people.

Left to right – Zed Tintor – Regional Manager, Justene Gordon – CEO, Nelly Martin – Community Engagement, Tanya Preston – Co-ordinator Youth Services at The Burdekin Association

“Last year, The Avalon Youth Hub provided 285 sessions of free counselling through KYDS, Mission Australia, headspace Brookvale, Sydney Drug and Education Counselling Centre (SDECC) and The Burdekin Association. And, 350 students across the Pittwater region were informed about support services available to them. Now, we can increase the number of services to affected young people. It will undoubtedly have a positive transformational impact on young people in our communities.”

Justene Gordon, CEO of The Burdekin Association, Lead Agency of the Avalon Youth Hub

A Hub for Support

With the acquisition of this new space, the Hub will be able to extend its reach and offer additional workshops and information sessions. This expansion is a testament to the commitment of the Avalon Youth Hub to address the diverse needs of young individuals and the broader community.

Avalon Youth Hub's new premises, the former Avalon Customer Contact Centre.
Avalon Youth Hub’s new premises – the former Avalon Customer Contact Centre.

Expanding Horizons

The decision to allocate the former Avalon Customer Contact Centre to the Avalon Youth Hub follows a thorough viability review. Through an Expressions of Interest process, Northern Beaches Council carefully evaluated several proposals and ultimately endorsed a community license agreement with The Burdekin Association acting as the lead agency of the Avalon Youth Hub.

Community Impact

The decision to endorse the expansion of the Hub is a testament to Northern Beaches Council’s commitment to the wellbeing of young people on the Northern Beaches. By investing in initiatives that address mental health and support systems, it has taken a proactive approach to tackle a pressing issue faced by the community. The availability of free counselling, case management, mentoring, advice, referrals, and general support services will serve as a safety net for young individuals who may be struggling with their mental health or experiencing difficulties in their lives.

To find out more about the Avalon Youth Hub, please visit their web site. Drop-in visitors are welcome Mondays 10am–5pm and Wednesdays 2-5pm. 59 Old Barrenjoey Road, Pittwater. You can also reach them on 0487 936 875.  

Scholarships donation sparks transformation!

Professor Brian Burdekin, AO Patron of The Burdekin Association

The Burdekin Association is proud to announce that our patron, Professor Brian Burdekin AO, has generously donated $20,000 today to The Burdekin Association to fund 20 young people’s further education scholarships. These are for young people in our care.

Professor Burdekin has made a firm commitment to contribute $200,000 over the next 10 years for these scholarships.

Today being Youth Homelessness Matters Day, is the day Professor Burdekin chose to announce his donation.

The scholarships will be tailored to meet the needs of young people pursuing further education, and can be used to purchase books, pay for tuition fees, or subject-related educational tutoring.

“Education improves access to opportunities such as employment, healthcare, housing, family, community, travel, and playing a full part in society with dignity.

I anticipate that the 20 scholarships created from my donation will have a positive and lasting impact on the lives of the young people, and I hope that my donation may encourage others to make a similar gesture.”

Professor Brian Burdekin, AO Patron of The Burdekin Association

Many of the young people who come to The Burdekin Association did not attend sufficient schooling in their formative years. As a result, they are likely to have low literacy and poor self esteem, while needing to recover from the trauma of the challenges that caused their situation in the first place, such as family conflict.

Scholarships like this, assist a young person who is keen to commence or continue with their higher education to receive that opportunity, realise their potential and reach their goals.

To find out more about the positive difference that education makes to young people’s lives, click here.

About Professor Brian Burdekin AO

Professor Brian Burdekin, AO has left a lasting legacy to two of Australia’s most disadvantaged groups – homeless children and people with mental illness.  During his term as Federal Human Rights Commissioner, he presented two landmark reports: a National Inquiry into Youth Homelessness in 1989 and National Inquiry into the Human Rights of People with Mental Illness in 1983.

Read more about Professor Burdekin here. And, read Professor Burdekin’s article, ‘Government is failing our most vulnerable children’ here.

About Youth Homelessness Matters Day

Homelessness Matters Day is a national day that aims to raise awareness and public discussion about child and youth homelessness. It’s been held every year since 1990 and has grown into a national commemoration of young people’s resilience. It’s also a day for Yfoundations and other services like The Burdekin Association to seek innovative solutions to support the needs of children and young people at risk of or currently experiencing homelessness. It’s a day that’s showcased online and in communities around Australia. Read more here.

Over 38,000 young people aged 15–24 years presented alone to a homelessness service in 2022–23. Of these young people, almost half experienced mental ill-health and over one third experienced domestic and family violence. 

The majority of these young people were in need of short-or long-term accommodation and most were turned away due to a lack of capacity.

To read more about Youth Homelessness Matters Day, click here.

People’s Commission into Homelessness

People's Commission into Homelessness

Have you heard of Everybody’s Home? It’s a national campaign that’s aimed at fixing the housing crisis in Australia. It’s organised on behalf of homelessness and welfare organisations, including: National Shelter, Mission Australia, Shelter NSW, Tenants Union of NSW and Homelessness Australia, among numerous others.

Why is there a housing crisis in the first place?

“Fundamentally, the only way to make housing more affordable is to build more of it where people want to live. And arguably, we haven’t been doing enough of that. That’s part of why housing is expensive in some parts of Australia,”

Proptrack, Real Estate Appraiser in Sydney

A timeline of how the housing crisis occurred in Australia:

(According to ‘Forbes Advisor‘)

  • High levels of home ownership after World War II, due to low land prices.
  • World War II price controls on land and rents cease.
  • Land close to Australia’s city centres becomes more scarce.
  • Price rises average three to four per cent over the 1950 – 1980’s.
  • Deregulation of the financial sector during the 1980’s results in increased competition, low inflation, low interest rates.
  • Demand increases for property in the 1980’s and 1990’s.
  • Introduction of tax concessions on property investment in the 1980’s in the form of negative gearing, capital gains tax exemptions and interest deductibility results in increased demand for home lending.
  • Migration increases the Australian population to 26 million between 2000 – 2024.
  • Shortage of land suitable for residential housing becomes apparent.
  • Federal governments respond to first home buyers being ‘locked out of the property market’ by offering initiatives like the First Home Buyer Scheme. Some experts believe these have made housing more expensive, as they boost demand further.

National Conversation about the Housing Crisis

The 500 organisational supporters of Everybody’s Home are seeking to hold a People’s Commission into Homelessness, where individuals and organisations across Australia can contribute to a national conversation about the housing crisis, its impacts and what can be done to fix it. They are encouraging all people to share their story about how the housing crisis is affecting them and their community.

It will refer to:

  1. The experiences of people struggling to access affordable and suitable housing.
  2. The flow-on impacts of the housing crisis.
  3. The impacts of current policy settings on housing affordability and access to housing.
  4. Actions that can be taken by governments to improve affordability and access to housing

What happens next?

The Everybody’s Home Commissioners will review submissions between now and May 2024 and draft a report summarising the key findings.

The Commissioners are:

  • Doug Cameron, a former trade unionist and Senator for New South Wales with the Australian Labor Party.
  • Professor Nicole Curran – Professor of Urban and Regional Planning at the University of Sydney, where she directs the University’s Henry Halloran Research Trust. 

The Commission will then culminate in a series of in-person hearings, where members of the community will be invited to share their story directly with Commissioners and the media. 

Dr Sophie Scamps’ People’s Jury on Housing

With the same theme in mind, in June 2024, Dr. Sophie Scamps, Independent Federal Member for Mackellar will be hosting a People’s Jury on Housing to find solutions to the housing crisis that will work for Mackellar on Sydney’s Northern Beaches.

The People’s Jury is a group of citizens invited to form a jury, who will spend a day deliberating on the housing crisis from many perspectives, with the aim being to come up with three policy priorities that Dr. Sophie Scamps can advocate for in Canberra. Dr. Sophie Scamps is working in partnership with The newDemocracy Foundation, a not for profit research organisation that promotes community participation in politics.

The panel presentation by the People’s Jury on Housing will be presented online on Saturday June 15.

How to fix the housing crisis?

According to the organisers of the Everybody’s Home campaign, there are simple things that the Federal Government can do to make our housing system work for everybody:

  • Wind back the tax concessions for investors.
  • Improve the affordability and availability of rental properties by supporting the creation of 500,000 properties for people on low and middle incomes.
  • Create long term security for renters.
  • Ease rental stress by increasing rent assistance.
  • Commit to ending homelessness by providing preventative and rapid homelessness support when people in need lose their homes.

The Everybody’s Home campaign advocates for social and affordable housing, as both forms help to address the housing crisis and create a more equitable and inclusive society.

The federal government’s Housing Accord (signed between federal and state governments last year), aims to construct one million new homes over five years from 2024, by using private capital, including superannuation funds.

It is aiming to build 30,000 new social and affordable rental homes over five years by establishing a $10 billion Housing Australia Future Fund.

Creative Collaborations!

The Burdekin Association is thrilled to announce that a former employee, Jay Williams, has established a new skincare company – ACTIVEAUSSIE Skincare – and he has committed to donating 15 per cent of the company’s profits to The Burdekin Association for one year.

The Burdekin Association’s CEO, Justene Gordon was joined by young people – Alice and Ava – and Case Managers – Chris and Howie. They were filmed while talking with first-hand experience of how The Burdekin Association provides housing, support and community intervention services for children and young people – helping to solve issues of child and youth homelessness.

ACTIVEAUSSIE Skincare products are proudly made in Sydney by reputable partners in the health and beauty field and feature antioxidants, including Kakadu plum extract, lilly pilly fruit extract, bilberry fruit extract, lavender oil, Resveratrol, and Tocopheryl Acetate (a form of Vitamin E).

The funds raised through the sale of ACTIVEAUSSIE Skincare products will be used to provide case management services to children in our Out of Home Care. The funds will help them to learn independent living skills, complete their studies, live independently, and go on to gain employment.

We hope through ACTIVEAUSSIE Skincare’s advertising campaign, that more people will discover what we do, volunteer with us, become a foster carer of a young person, and donate. 

Justene Gordon, CEO of The Burdekin Association

ACTIVEAUSSIE Skincare’s endeavours will help The Burdekin Association by raising our profile, making people aware of how we’re aiming to ensure that every child or young person has a safe home. 

“The main purpose of the ACTIVEAUSSIE Skincare brand is about fundraising and supporting organisations who are helping our young disadvantaged kids. That’s what really makes us, us.”

Jay Williams, Founder of ACTIVEAUSSIE Skincare

You can visit the ACTIVEAUSSIE Skincare website to place an order and support a great cause (The Burdekin Association!) 💙💛

Youth Homelessness Matters Day

Youth Homelessness Matters Day 2024

Across Australia in 2022-23, almost 39,000 young people (15-24 years of age) presented alone to a specialist homelessness service. Of these young people, the majority were in need of short or long term accommodation.

Half of the young people who tried to get a bed in a crisis refuge in 2022-23 were turned away because services couldn’t accommodate them.

Around a third of young people that presented to specialist homelessness services had experienced domestic and family violence. And, around a third of young people presenting along to specialist homelessness services identified as Indigenous to Australia.

It is becoming clear, according to Yfoundations, the broader rental, housing and cost of living crisis is putting more pressure on homeless service providers and making it harder for children and young people to find a home.

Yfoundations is the peak body for youth homelessness in NSW. For over 40 years, yfoundations has represented and advocated for children and young people at risk of and experiencing homelessness, and the services that support them. 

The Australian Institute of Health and Welfare Specialist Homelessness Services (SHS) data 202-23 advises that the capacity of homelessness services has fallen by almost 17,000 clients a year and services face a $73 million funding shortfall from June 2024 (Yfoundations media release, December 2023.)

In 2022-23, three in 10 clients at specialist homelessness services (SHS) were under the age of 18. Almost 40,000 of SHS clients in 2022-23 were children and young people (15-24) presenting on their own. Similar to previous years, females and First Nations people were overrepresented in these figures.


Wednesday April 17, 2024 is Youth Homelessness Matters Day. It’s a national day that aims to raise awareness and public discussion about child and youth homelessness. It’s been held every year since 1990 and has grown into a national commemoration of young people’s resilience. It’s also a day for yfoundations and other services like The Burdekin Association to seek innovative solutions to support the needs of children and young people at risk of or currently experiencing homelessness. It’s a day that’s showcased online and in communities around Australia.

“Every day in 2022/23, 295 people who needed a crisis bed or help were turned away because services were at capacity. We believe, these numbers will be much higher in reality, because we know that children and young people will couch surf, remain in violent homes, or sleep rough because they have no idea that services exist. Even if they did, the report demonstrates they are unlikely to get a bed tonight because services are full.”

Trish Connolly, yfoundations CEO

Yfoundations is hoping that these statistics will be taken into consideration when the federal government develops the National Housing and Homelessness Plan and Agreement this year.

Yfoundations’ view is that the solution lies in increasing the funding for crisis homelessness services, so that children and young people are not living in unsafe and violent situations, and that the federal government commits to standalone homelessness and housing plans to end child and youth homelessness. Their submission aims to demonstrate how failures of the child protection system and other service systems have had significant impacts on the youth homelessness service system.

The plan will need to respond to the diversity and complexity of young people at risk of or experiencing homelessness to support their transition into a future of self reliance and wellbeing. It should be part of a national approach in responding to housing supply shortages.

To find out more about Youth Homelessness Matters Day, click here.

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.