youth homelessness

Manly Warringah Sea Eagles Wordpress blog post banner

Thank you Manly Warringah Sea Eagles!

In the lead up to the festive season, our community partner, Manly Warringah Sea Eagles are reaching out to their members, fans and the local community to support our young people.

The Club is seeking donations of gift cards for children and young people that The Burdekin Association supports.

Christmas can be a challenging time with its huge emphasis on the family unit. This can have an unintended side effect on young people without a family who feel more alone and isolated than usual.

Manly Warringah Sea Eagles are asking that before you finalise your Christmas shopping, that you consider a thoughtful gift that supports young people.

Often these gifts are the only ones that a young person will receive at Christmas and the joy that it brings is immeasurable.

Below is a list of vouchers that would be appropriate:

People are encouraged to refrain from purchasing gift cards that have access to alcohol and tobacco.

Gift cards can be purchased and emailed to: or dropped off to Grace at the Penn Centre of Excellence, 25 Federal Parade, Brookvale. Additionally, the gift cards can also be emailed directly to The Burdekin Association at

The Burdekin Association thanks Manly Warringah Sea Eagles, their members, fans and supportive community.

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.  

Foster Care and Kinship Week 2023

Foster Care and Kinship Week 2023

“More than 100 vulnerable children and young people are living in alternative emergency housing, such as hotels and motels, as the child protection system faces a dire shortage of Foster Carers,” reported Amber Schultz in The Sun Herald on September 10, 2023, the start of Foster Care and Kinship Week.

According to the report in the Herald, “There are around 15,000 children and young people in the NSW child protection system. The shortage of Foster Carers has resulted in an increasing number of children being housed in residential care.”

The Department of Communities and Justice estimates that an extra 600 Foster Carers are needed a year to take care of children who cannot live safely at home.

NSW Minister for Families and Communities, Kate Washington has used Foster Care and Kinship Week to make an urgent plea for more parents to sign up as Foster Carers.

“Each year, 600 new Foster Carers are needed in NSW to take care of children who can’t live safely at home. Carers can be family members or foster carers, and come from a diverse range of backgrounds and all walks of life.

All carers receive training, support and an allowance to help them throughout their care journey.”

Kate Washington, NSW Minister for Families and Communities.

Learn about becoming a Foster Carer here

The Burdekin Association hosted a stall at the Addison Road Community Markets in Marrickville on Sunday September 10, 2023 to discuss volunteering and foster caring opportunities at The Burdekin Association.

“The Burdekin Association loves to be a part of the local community. We want to partner with people who would like to understand the work that The Burdekin Association does with young people aged between 9 and 24. We believe that people in the community generally wish to help young people who haven’t had the best start in life – to have an opportunity to develop their skills and their confidence. The Burdekin Association provides that opportunity for the right people,” said Jill Wrathal Strategic Projects / Volunteer Manager with The Burdekin Association.

“Being Foster Care and Kinship Week, The Burdekin Association is looking for Foster Carers who have the right attributes, who love teenagers, and who are also very patient.”

Jill Wrathall, Strategic Projects / Volunteer Manager with The Burdekin Association.

The Burdekin Association provides free accommodation to Foster Carers. We rent houses all around Sydney in locations that are mutually agreed. As a Foster Carer, once you have received the training and been assessed as suitable, we are able to match you with a young person and provide a house for you in a location that meets both the needs of the young person and of you and your family situation.

“Foster Carers provide the ideal environment for a young person to thrive in. Foster Carers can be people at all different stages of life – we can have people in their 20’s, people in their 70’s. What they provide is a stable, consistent, loving home environment for a young person who has experienced not so many good things in their life. Often there has been trauma, abuse, neglect and these young people need to be given a stable, consistent home environment where they have their own bedroom, feel safe, and where the Foster Carer provides a consistent framework of support for them and they can engage with education and work opportunities as any child growing up in a family would want to do.”

Jill Wrathall, Strategic Projects / Volunteer Manager with The Burdekin Association.

Foster caring isn’t easy, but for the right people, it can be so rewarding to make a difference in the life of a young person. That’s why The Burdekin Association has its volunteering program. It’s a gentle entry point, with some volunteers going on to become Foster Carers.

Some ways that people in the community can volunteer as mentors to young people, is by helping them with:

  • Their education
  • Obtaining a driver’s licence
  • Learner driving supervision
  • Learning to cook
  • Learning to catch public transport
  • Developing their skills and their confidence

Take the quiz to see if you can become a Foster Carer

Professor Brian Burdekin on ABC Radio National

Professor Brian Burdekin

Click here to listen to the radio interview.

The Burdekin Association’s Patron and Australia’s first Federal Human Rights Commissioner, Professor Brian Burdekin AO spent over 30 years advocating for the needs of children – those with disabilities and mental illness.

He led two landmark reports: ‘National Inquiry into Youth Homelessness’ in 1989 and ‘Human Rights and Mental Illness’ in 1993.

And, he delivered the opening address at the recent National Youth Homelessness Conference held in July 2023 in Melbourne.

He recently spoke with Andy Park, Presenter of the Drawing Room on Radio National about youth homelessness.

Key highlights of the radio interview:

  • More than 40,000 young Australians spend each night without a home, and 18,000 of these are under the age of 12 (according to the most recent official Australian Census estimates).
  • Professor Burdekin’s mother’s career had a dramatic influence on him and his ambitions for advocating for children with disabilities. He witnessed first-hand her experience of raising five children, attending university and being a teacher of students with disabilities.
  • He realised that as one of the wealthiest countries in the world, Australia still (in the mid 1980’s) had systemic discrimination against the hundreds of thousands of children who lived with disabilities and also people with mental illnesses.
  • He was named as Australia’s first Federal Human Rights Commissioner in 1986 and described Australians’ knowledge of human rights in Australia at the time as “being appalling”. He advised that 95 per cent of Australians at the time didn’t know what human rights were about, as the government had done “nothing about informing the general public that international treaties had been signed and were binding in international law in relation to the conventions on elimination of discrimination against women and the elimination of racial discrimination.”
  • He deplored the fact that Australia was the only country of 65 common law countries that did not have a Bill of Rights in their Constitution or federal legislation.
Homeless youth

“My advice to the Federal Government (to ensure that children and young people aren’t overlooked) is to have a national housing plan, to put more money into social housing, and to develop a specific holistic plan for homeless children and young people, as their pathways into homelessness are often different. The holistic plan should include life skills training, opportunities for education and housing.”

Professor Burdekin AO, Patron of The Burdekin Association

Further key highlights of the radio interview:

  • He went on to advise that The Burdekin Association is looking after a rapidly increasing number of homeless children – children that don’t have any adult to care for them or to protect them.
  • Australia has almost the lowest rate of social housing in the world – only 3.9 per cent of available housing stock.
  • He stated that 122,000 Australians are currently homeless, of which 18,000 people are under the age of 12, and that early intervention and prevention – assisting families that are in trouble, that are stressed out, that can’t make ends meet – is more cost effective as well as more appropriate for protecting human rights.
  • Following the ‘National Inquiry into Youth Homelessness’, Professor Burdekin bought an apartment block of eight units in Forster Tuncurry, on the NSW North Coast, and worked with the Mayor of Taree and the St Vincent De Paul Society, to look after and house homeless young people and children. During the time, he learnt the necessity of keeping young people in their local area, that private businesses are often willing to help financially, and the importance of keeping children in touch with their community.
  • He emphasized that 84 per cent of children currently being assisted by The Burdekin Association have mental health problems and many homeless children have undiagnosed mental health problems.

On the move!

We’re excited to report that The Burdekin Association has officially moved its Inner West team into our new premises in Marrickville!

The new spaces bring opportunities for children, young people and our team of staff to connect, create (especially in the industrial kitchen) and feel at home.

We can choose from four different rooms to: host visitors or clients, undertake training and inductions, hold smaller confidential meetings or have an informal chat. Multiple lounge areas are now also available for sharing lunch with team members, holding discussions, chilling out or cooking up a storm in the adjacent kitchen!

The furniture was generously facilitated by The Property Industry Foundation, an organisation that brings together the property and construction industry to positively impact youth homelessness.

The furniture was generously facilitated by The Property Industry Foundation, an organisation that brings together the property and construction industry to positively impact youth homelessness. 

Most of the furniture was kindly donated from Charter Hall, one of the members of the Property Industry Foundation. Charter Hall is one of Australia’s leading fully integrated property investment and funds management groups, and the largest CBD office manager in Australia. We are very grateful to them for managing the movement of some our office furniture! No easy task! 

“It’s brilliant when opportunities like this come together. Charter Hall is always incredibly generous and when the Burdekin Team came to us asking for support for their new office fit out, The 1 Shelley Street Charter Hall Team jumped at the opportunity to make a positive impact. They went above and beyond sharing over $20,000 worth of second-hand furniture which they had in storage. It was a beautiful example of a win-win scenario from both a sustainability and social good perspective. Thank you to all partners and individuals involved.”

Penny Kaleta, NSW State Manager, Property Industry Foundation

Among the furniture donated to our new office premises are a three-seater leather lounge suite, arm chairs, casual office chairs, three coffee tables, leather ottomans, cushions, a rug, dining table and chairs and bar chairs for the industrial kitchen. The donated furniture is estimated to be valued at over $20,000, and by being re-purposed, diverts much waste from being sent to landfill. We can’t begin to estimate how many tonnes of furniture was donated, but to give you an idea, there was a quantity large enough to be moved to one space ready for collection!

The remainder of the furniture – printers, IT equipment and office furniture – was relocated by Egans Removals and Relocations. Alongside our office relocation, they loaned us reusable packing crates, a great sustainable option to reduce our waste.

Our new office premises in Marrickville looks amazing with our fantastic re-purposed furniture and dedicated meeting spaces. The Burdekin Association is so proud and grateful to have such great partnerships with The Property Industry Foundation, Charter Hall and Evans Removals and Relocations to help make our new space so comfortable and home-like.

Justene Gordon, Chief Executive Officer of The Burdekin Association

Other furniture that was moved from our St Peters office to our new premises had previously been provided by Mates on the Move. At that time, Mates on the Move had disassembled our re-purposed conference desks and office chairs, moved them and then re-assembled them for us.

In case you didn’t know, Mates on the Move provides education, skills and employment training for people who have left prison, giving them a second chance to thrive at life. Mates on the Move is the social enterprise of the registered charity, Prisoners Aid Association of NSW.

Take a peek at Burdekin staff enjoying our new office premises and our wonderful re-purposed furniture below. Why not come and check it out for yourself? We’re at 99 Chapel Street, Marrickville.

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.