15-16 June, 2021

Shape the future for young people in Australia, and join the 2021 national virtual conference on youth homelessness.


Days Until NYHC 2021








NYHC 2019 Highlight Reel

Why attend NYHC 2021?

For over a decade, the homelessness sector has called for a national strategy to end child and youth homelessness. Yet it remains a persistent issue, and has undoubtedly been exacerbated by the COVID-19 pandemic.

As a result, NYHC2021 will aim to mobilise a collective commitment to developing a joint NGO-Government national strategy to end child and youth homelessness. This is a unique and new approach in Australia.

How do we end youth homelessness in Australia once and for all?


Listen and learn from a range of perspectives on what actually works to reduce youth homelessness.



Pooling our resources, it is time to develop a National Strategy to end youth homelessness.


Lobby government to commit to a National Strategy to end youth homelessness.

Early Bird Tickets Available Now

Australia urgently needs a National Strategy to end youth homelessness once and for all. 

Ticket Options

Entire Conference












Speakers and Presenters

NYHC 2021 Speakers will include leading international and Australian experts in the field, front line service providers, educators, employers, young people sharing lived experience, and more.
Dr. Stephen Gaetz

Director of the Canadian Observatory on Homelessness

Dr. Stephen Gaetz has had a long-standing interest in understanding homelessness – its causes, how it is experienced, and potential solutions. His program of research has been defined by his desire to ‘make research matter’ through conducting rigorous scholarly research that contributes to our knowledge base on homelessness and is mobilized so that it has an impact on policy, practice and public opinion. As an internationally recognized leader and innovator in the area of knowledge mobilization, Dr. Gaetz has pioneered efforts to bring together researchers, practitioners, policy makers and people with lived experience of homelessness to participate in a broad agenda of community engaged scholarship and knowledge creation designed to contribute to solutions to homelessness. As Director of the Canadian Observatory on Homelessness, one of his key projects is the Homeless Hub, an innovative web-based research library internationally recognized as a leading example of innovation in knowledge mobilization. In 2016 Dr. Gaetz was awarded a Research Impact (Connection) award by the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada, and in 2017 he received the honor of Member of the Order of Canada.

Melanie Redman

Co-Founder & President of A Way Home Canada

Melanie Redman is the co-founder, President & CEO of A Way Home Canada, a national coalition reimagining solutions to youth homelessness through transformations in policy, planning and practice. A Way Home Canada has inspired communities and countries around the world to adopt the A Way Home brand as a way to participate in a growing international movement for change. Melanie also leads the National Learning Community on Youth Homelessness in Canada, which is a pan-Canadian community of practice for youth homelessness service providers. Melanie is also the co-founder and Partnership and Implementation Director for the Making the Shift Youth Homelessness Social Innovation Lab, and international “Network of Centres of Excellence.”

Image of young person, Tobias, wearing a jacket leaning against a white wall with blue lighting

CREATE Foundation

Tobias is a young person who is dedicated to and passionate about making a difference for children and young people, especially those with an out-of-home care experience. He has lived experience as a homeless young person and likes to spend his spare time knitting and playing with his pet bunny, Valerie.

Image of Dr Catherine Robinson looking directly at the camera with trees in the background
DR. Catherine Robinson

Social Researcher, Social Action and Research Centre (SARC)

Dr. Catherine Robinson is sociologist with a broad interest in the relationship between vulnerability, justice and place. She has a long-held commitment to qualitative research and advocacy in the areas of homelessness, complex trauma and social care. Her current work focuses on understanding the experiences and support system needs of Tasmanian children and young people who experience high vulnerability, including unaccompanied homelessness. 

Her key publications on homelessness include Beside One’s Self: Homelessness Felt and Lived (Syracuse University Press) and (with Chris Chamberlain and Guy Johnson) Homelessness in Australia (NewSouth Publishing).  Catherine is also known for her work with Blackfella Films as Series Consultant and Co-Host of the SBS documentary Filthy Rich and Homeless.  Most recently she has been appointed to the Board of Directors, Homelessness Australia and Adjunct Associate Professor, School of Social Sciences, UTAS.

Prof. Brian Burdekin AO

Former Federal Human Rights Commissioner

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 Human Rights and Mental Illness in 1983.

Our Homeless Children, the 1989 report on youth homelessness, shocked the Australian public by revealing the number of young people who were homeless and the appalling lifestyle they lived.  The Burdekin Association has restructured to reflect many of the recommendations of the report and Brian Burdekin has offered his full support. Unfortunately, though, many young people are still homeless or at risk of becoming homeless.

Image of a young person, Danni Forster, in a grey and black top standing in front of a pattern wall
Danni Forster

Co-Founder, Youth Homelessness Advisory Council WA

Danni Forster is a passionate 24-year-old. As a founding member of the Youth Homelessness Advisory Council or YHAC she has been able to be a part of the Action Plan to End Youth Homelessness, presenting in front of the Department of Communities and at the Social Impact Festival in 2019. In the second half of 2020, she was also a part of WA’s COVID-19 Youth Engagement project on the steering group that saw young voices brought to the forefront of WA’s recovery, we also spoke to ministers to present to them the Experiences of COVID-19, a document that we wrote after consulting with other young people.
Image of Justin Barker smiling in blue shirt with a purple wall behind him and the letters o u t h
Dr. Justin Barker

Executive Director, Youth Coalition ACT

Dr. Justin Barker is the Executive Director of the Youth Coalition of the ACT. Justin is an anthropologist and youth studies academic with an extensive background in conducting research with marginalised population groups and community service providers in the areas of youth work, domestic & family violence, youth & family homelessness, child protection, alcohol and other drugs and service use by vulnerable population groups. Justin has extensive experience in program evaluation and working with community services to build their capacity for ongoing service improvement. Prior to his career as a researcher Justin was a youth worker in working with homeless young people. This experience led onto his PhD that examined the lives of homeless young people in Canberra, providing ethnographic insights into the conditions of youth homelessness. 

Image of young person in track suit with beanie on holding school books
Samantha Wilson


Samantha Wilson is a 21-year-old University student that studies Commerce and International Studies at Deakin University. Her aim is to make people’s lives easier than her own when it comes to youth homelessness.

Samantha has appeared in video interviews with Barwon Child Youth and Family in Geelong, and has published articles about her experience with homelessness and poverty. Samantha is passionate about sharing what is and is not working in youth homelessness service provision and policy, and how it can be improved for young people like herself. She was also a representative of Horizon House, a homeless youth service run by St John of God.

Samantha will be discussing her lived experience of homelessness, what early intervention looks like and how she got to where she is now. 


Image of Paul McDonald in a blue suit with pink tie standing in front of a brick wall with graffiti
Paul McDonald

CEO, Anglicare Victoria

Paul McDonald is the CEO of Anglicare Victoria, the state’s largest agency in delivering out-of-home care (OoHC) and family support for vulnerable and at risk children, youth and families. He was previously the Deputy Secretary of the Children Youth and Family Division in the Department of Human Services overseeing Victoria’s Child Protection, Youth Justice and Family Welfare policy and programs. He won the Prime Minister’s Award for his department’s work in harm minimisation.
Paul was the founding CEO of the renowned Youth Substance Abuse Service, (YSAS), and established the nationally-significant St Kilda Crisis Centre. He is the founding national Chair of The Home Stretch, a campaign which seeks to extend the age of those in OoHC from 18 to 21 years.


Image of Annemaree Callendar with a pink and blue shirt on standing in front of a pink and blue graphic background
Annemaree Callander

CEO, Brisbane Youth Service

Annemaree Callander is the CEO of Brisbane Youth Service and has over 30 years’ experience in human service delivery in both the government and community sector. She has held a variety of policy, direct service and leadership roles focused on young people, housing and homelessness, and child protection. Annemaree is a strong advocate for young people and passionate about evidence informed policy and practice.


Image of young man, Jahin Tanvir, in red and blue plaid shirt with a plain wooden wall background
Jahin Tanvir

Youth Advocate

Jahin Tanvir is a 20-year-old policy adviser, speaker, author, and youth advocate. Jahin possesses a strong background in youth leadership and advocacy in leading youth-led organisations such as Oaktree, World Vision, Red Cross, and the United Nations to name a few.

In 2021, Jahin received the 2021 Young Canberra Citizen of the Year in Individual Community Service as well as recognition in the 7NEWs Young Achiever awards for NSW/ACT.  He has had guest speaker roles in Parliament House, National Roundtable on COVID-19 Vaccines for Youth, ABC National Radio, and various panel discussions revolving around issues young people face. Jahin is also a young media spokesperson as part of the Centre for Australian Progress, providing expert media comment on young people’s experiences in Australian communities.

Image of Dr Tammy hand in black and white striped top with a purple background
Dr. Tammy Hand

Senior Research and Development Manager, Upstream Australia

Dr. Tammy Hand is the Senior Research and Development Manager at Upstream Australia. Upstream Australia, as a change agency and collective impact backbone organisation, works for place-based system reforms to achieve better social, educational, and vocational outcomes for young people, and supports the development and operations of the ‘Community of Schools and Services’ (COSS) collectives implementing the COSS Model and initiative communities who are working towards COSS implementation.

As a social researcher she is embedded in a program of research and development focused on social, educational, and vocational outcomes for young people, specifically at the nexus of in/equality, structural and non-structural barriers, social and system change and reform.

She is also an adjunct at the National Youth Commission Inquiry into Employment and Transitions. 


Image of a young person, Queenie, standing at a lecturn in white tshirt with a black cardigan on looking to the crowd

Youth Advocate

Queenie is a queer transgender woman who loves to defy social gender norms. Queenie loves writing poetry and has been an advocate for young people since she became a ward of the state. Queenie has lived experience in homelessness, mental health, AOD and the care system.
Image of person, Pam Barker, with blue jack on smiling at camera with tree in the background
Pam Barker

CEO YFoundations

Pam Barker has extensive experience across the not-for-profit sector. Pam’s experience at ACON New South Wales’s largest LGBTIQ Health Service as the National Program Manager of the Health & Wellbeing Program and as a Senior Manager at the Black Dog Institute.

Before this, Pam managed Open Doors Youth Service, QLD’s largest LGBTIQ youth service supporting young people between the aged 12–24 years. Open Doors Youth Service is a Reconnect funded organisation providing homelessness prevention and psychosocial support to young people. Pam advocated for change in policy reform at both state and federal government levels partnering with stakeholders to affect change across QLD for LGBTIQ Youth.


Image of young person, Elvis Martin, smiling at the camera with suit on and striped background in grey
Elvis Martin

Principal Ambassador, YDA

Elvis Martin is one of the passionate young leaders of Victoria advocating for social justice. He is currently the Ambassador of Youth Development Australia and RUOK? Day. His main focus is to support young people who are experiencing hardships in life. His areas of advocacy work include mental health, homelessness, domestic violence, suicide prevention and the LGBTIQ+ community. He uses his platform to promote inclusion, diversity and equality for all.


Image of person, Deb Tsobaris, in brown suit smiling at camera with light grey plain background
Deb Tsobaris

CEO, Centre for Excellence in Child and Family Welfare (CECFW)

Deb Tsobaris has worked in health and community services for 32 years, holding executive positions in organisations working across youth services; disability, drug and alcohol support services; and employment programs. Deb was CEO of the Victorian Council to Homeless Persons from 2003 to 2009. Prior to joining the Centre, Deb was Director of Human Services Design at the Department of Human Services – responsible for leading the design and development of integrated human services to improve outcomes for clients.

Deb provides policy leadership to state and federal governments and is a strong contributor to the child and family services sector. She was the spokesperson for the Australians for Ending Homelessness campaign and she is currently serving on the boards of Kids Under Cover and the Child and Family Welfare Association of Australia. 


Associate Professor, University of South Australia

David Mackenzie is an Associate Professor at the University of South Australia and an Adjunct Associate Professor at Swinburne University.

David has a strong record of research and development on youth issues and youth policy and is internationally recognised for his work on homelessness and youth. He is the author and co-author of a number of significant reports on Youth Homelessness.

David was the original founder of Youth Development Australia and he is the current Chair of the YDA Board. Over the past 10 years, David has served on a number of government advisory committees and taskforces – the Commonwealth Advisory Committee on Homelessness, the National SAAP Data and Research Advisory Committee, the National SAAP Information Services Committee, the JPET Needs Committee and the Victorian Integrated Data Project Committee.

David was one of the NYC Commissioners in 2007/08. David is one of Australia’s leading researchers on homelessness and disadvantage.

Image of woman, Katie Hooper, with blue top and long brown hair, standing in front of graffiti wall
Katie Hooper

CEO, Foyer Foundation

Katie Hooper joined the Foyer Foundation in February 2020 to drive an ambitious agenda for the Australian Foyer movement. Katie is responsible for working in collaboration with the Foyer Foundation Board and the Brotherhood of St Laurence to drive the strategic agenda of the Foyer Foundation, along with a range of other activities, both externally and internally focused, including policy, advocacy, education, professional development, sponsorship, communications, marketing, finance and administration.
In her last role as CEO at Foster Care Association of Victoria (FCAV) Katie devised and lead Victoria’s first ever Carer Advisory Group in partnership with the DHHS, advocating for carers to always have a voice. Katie also lead the organisation in the development of partnerships to develop and deliver a Statewide training calendar for Victorian carers. Katie is Social work trained and has worked for over 25 year in Child and Family Services. 
Dr. Brad Russell

Director, School Agency & Digital Leadership (NSW Department of Education)

Dr. Brad Russell is currently the NSW Department of Education Director, School Agency and Digital Leadership. Brad has extensive experience in designing, implementing and leading professional learning for educational leaders and teachers. His areas of expertise and research include reading, effective pedagogy and standards based practice. He is regarded as a leader in collective responsibility and the delivery of collective impact designed projects that build inclusive communities.


The cohesion and alignment of systems, policies, procedures and practices based on research are the drivers for Brad’s work. He is regarded as an innovator, leader and collaborator by his colleagues and peers. Brad’s interests are collective responsibility for social cohesion and building social capital, gardening and Greyhound Adoption Program. He has been awarded the NSW ACEL Fellowships and he is a previous recipient of the NSW Premier’s Award for Education.

NYHC 2021 Program 


Conference Auspice