NATIONAL CONFERENCE TO END YOUTH HOMELESSNESS
15-16 June, 2021

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

REGISTER FOR NYHC2021

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

Learn

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

l

Plan

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

Act

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

WHY ATTEND NYHC2021?

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

The time for waiting is over. NYHC2021 will mobilise a collective commitment to developing a national strategy to end youth homelessness.

At NYHC2021 you will:

  • Engage with senior practitioners and policy makers on the emerging ideas in homelessness services
  • Deepen your own knowledge base on youth homelessness
  • Attend alongside young people with lived experience, CEOs, program managers, case workers and more - this conference is for all levels of experience and not exclusive to only a few
  • Foster networks and connections with people in all areas of youth homelessness including nonprofits, government, philanthropy, educators, academics and more
  • Contribute your own knowledge, ideas and experiences 
  • Actively participate in sessions - this is not just a talking conference

REGISTRATIONS CLOSED

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

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.
Adongwot 'AD' Manyoul

Adongwot 'AD' Manyoul

Conference MC

Néha Madhok

Néha Madhok

National Director, Democracy In Colour

Prof. Brian Burdekin

Prof. Brian Burdekin

Former Federal Human Rights Commissioner

Ellen Jacobsen

Ellen Jacobsen

Social Impact Manager, HoMie

Justin Mohamed

Justin Mohamed

Commissioner for Aboriginal Children and Young People Victoria

Kai Schweizer

Kai Schweizer

Co-Founder, Youth Homelessness Advisory Council WA

Kate Colvin

Kate Colvin

Deputy CEO, Council to Homeless Persons

Jason Trethowan

Jason Trethowan

CEO, Headspace National Youth Mental Health Foundation

Jo Swift

Jo Swift

CEO, Kids Under Cover

Paul McDonald

Paul McDonald

CEO, The Home Stretch

Jahin Tanvir

Jahin Tanvir

Youth Advocate

Michelle Lechleiter

Michelle Lechleiter

Youth Housing Officer, Alice Springs Youth Accommodation Support Services

NYHC 2021 Program

Please note, we are updating the conference program every day. Additional sessions will be added over the coming weeks.

Day 1 – 15 June 2021

9:30 am
Plenary

Welcome to Country

Aunty Georgina Nicholson

Welcome to Conference

Adongwot ‘AD’ Manyoul, Conference MC

Prof. Brian Burdekin AO, Former Federal Human Rights Commissioner

Hon. Michael Sukaar MP, Assistant Treasurer, Minister for Housing and Minister for Homelessness, Social and Community Housing

 

10:00am
Plenary

Creating a New Way Forward

A series of short keynote presentations from:

Associate Professor David MacKenzie, Upstream Australia Project

Dr. Stephen Gaetz, Canadian Observatory on Homelessness

Melanie Redman, A Way Home Canada

 

11:00am
Breakout Sessions
Early Intervention – It's a Must

Session Overview:

The COSS model is a ground-breaking place-based model of early intervention implementing a series of innovations such as population screening, a flexible practice framework and longitudinal outcomes measure that have succeeded in reducing adolescent homelessness in the Geelong region by 40% – now being developed via three funded pilot sites and another dozen or so COSS Initiative Groups.
How could the COSS Model be developed into a changed support system for young people?

 

Presenters:

Dr. Tammy Hand, Upstream Australia, (MC)

Samantha Wilson, Student and Youth Advocate

Di Glover, YES Unlimited

Associate Professor David MacKenzie, Upstream Australia Project

Peter Jacobson, Yourtown

COVID: the crisis and the opportunity

Session Overview:

The problem of ‘youth homelessness’ remains a persistent and troubling issue, exacerbated by the Covid-19 Pandemic crisis. During 2020, the weaknesses of our systems, programs and policies for young people were exposed. There is much to be learned from what happened last year and much to be done. So how do we ensure one of our most vulnerable cohort of people, those experiencing homelessness, are able to access support while the pandemic rages? How will a COVID vaccine rollout work in the youth homeless population? And what are the opportunities for innovation and reform that the COVID pandemic presents?

Presenters:

Dr. Catherine Robinson, Social Research Action Centre, Anglicare Tasmania, (MC)

Professor Stuart Kinner, Murdoch Children’s Research Institute and University of Melbourne

Dr. Jess Heerde, Royal Children’s Hospital

Annemaree Callander, Brisbane Youth Service

Donna Bennet, Hope Street

Jasmine Yee, St Vincents Homeless Health Team

One Size Does Not Fit All – Place-based System Reform

Session Overview:

If our service system is crisis oriented and siloed, what reforms would transform the supports needed by young people into a more effective and efficient system.?

This workshop is designed to explore what place-based collective impact system reform might look like and how would it work.

 

Presenters:

Annie Ryan, Upstream Australia, (MC)

Joe Parsons, Department of Communities & Justice NSW

Dr. Brad Russel, School Agency and Digital Leadership, NSW Department of Education

Lauryn Borthwick – Senior Early Intervention Response Worker BCYF

Michael ‘Mo’ O’Meara, MoHow

Youth Homelessness In Rural & Regional Communities

Session Overview:

Youth homelessness is not only prevalent in our major cities it also presents a challenge for regional and rural communities.
Young people (aged 16-25 years) in rural areas experience homelessness very differently to their urban peers, due to limited employment and education options and inadequate formal support networks.

 

Presenters:

Keith Waters, Youth Development Australia, (MC)

Vicki-Tree Stephens, Youth Involvement Council WA

Genevieve Sinclair, Youth Empowered Towards Independence (YETI)

Ian Clark, Albany Youth Support Association WA

Michelle Lechleitner, Alice Springs Youth Accommodation & Support Service

Kirra Voller, Youth Advocate

Jemma Wood, Anglicare NT

12:30pm
 
1:00pm
lunch and networking opportunity
Lunch time session
 
 
Special Session: In Conversation with Fiona Patten MP and Associate Prof. David MacKenzie

Session Overview:

 

In March, the Legislative Council Legal and Social Issues Committee released its Victorian Parliamentary Inquiry into Homelessness which handed down 50+ recommendations to solve the homelessness crisis.

Join the Hon. Fiona Patten MP (chairperson of the Vic Inquiry) and Associate Prof. David MacKenzie for a one-on-one discussion about the future of government and NGO collaboration on youth homelessness issues.

1:30pm
Keynote

Housing First for Young People

Joint Keynote:

Melanie Redman, A Way Home Canada

Dr. Stephen Gaetz, Canadian Observatory on Homelessness

2:30pm
Afternoon Tea
 
3:00pm
Breakout Sessions
Social Housing for Young People

Session Overview:

Young people 12-24 years on their own are 16% of homeless clients but access only some 3% of social housing. There is a case for rethinking social housing as a transitional housing option for disadvantaged and vulnerable young people using a Housing First for Youth model of support. 

How could this reform be done?


Presenters:

Associate Professor David MacKenzie, Upstream Australia Project (MC)

Danni Forster, Youth Homelessness Advisory Council WA

Rebecca Mullins, MyFoundation Youth Housing

Sophie Howard, Youth Advocate

Kate Colvin, Council to Homeless Persons

Jo Swift, Kids Under Cover

THE FOYER SUPPORTED ACCOMMODATION MODEL

Session Overview:

As a form of supported accommodation linked strongly to education, training and employment pathways, Foyers in Australia have been developed as part of the homelessness response. However, Foyers have remained an expensive special project option with weak links to SHS exits. 

What reforms and calibrations should be considered for the Foyer model of supported accommodation?


Presenters:

Keith Waters, Youth Development Australia, (MC)

Katie Hooper, Foyer Foundation

Louise (Lou) Limoges, Children Youth and Families Directorate, Uniting NSW

Dr. Tammy Hand, Upstream Australia

Courtney Fisher, Southern Youth and Family Services Foyer

Housing First For Young People – Time For An Exchange

Session Overview:

Young people have developmental needs that must be factored into the supports that they require as they transition from adolescence to adulthood. Access to housing and supported accommodation must factor in appropriate and sufficient supports – Housing First for Youth. 

How might this be done in the Australian context?


Presenters:

Adongwot ‘AD’ Manyoul, (MC)

Melanie Redman, A Way Home Canada

Dr. Stephen Gaetz, Canadian Observatory on Homelessness

Leah Watkins, RUAH WA

4:00pm
Youth Debrief

Reflecting on the Day

This session is reserved for young people to meet, debrief and discuss the events of the day in a private and safe space, and will be facilitated by our young conference MC.

Day 2 – 16 JUne 2021

10:00 am
Keynote Panel

The Alliance we need to bring about change

Paul McDonald, Home Stretch Campaign

Néha Madhok, Democracy In Colour

Melani Redman, A Way Home Canada

Kate Colvin, Council to Homeless Persons

Professor Eóin Killackey, Orygen Youth Mental Health

 

11:00am
Breakout Sessions
YOUNG PEOPLE LEAVING CARE – DOING THE RIGHT THING

Session Overview:

This is a highly vulnerable cohort of young people. Evidence suggests that at least 30 percent leaving care at 18-years of age experience homelessness in their first year of attempted independent living. Family supports are not available for most of these young people. The Home Stretch campaign seeks an commitment from all State and Territory governments to extend state care to age of 21 years.  

What exactly needs to be done to provide highly effective support and what will be the cost of developing this response for the entire cohort of care leavers?


Presenters:

Ella Roberts, CREATE Foundation, (MC)

Deb Tsorbaris, Centre for Excellence in Child and Family Welfare

Paul McDonald, Home Stretch Campaign

Dawyte Clancy, Fight Project NT

Justene Gordon, Burdekin Association

YOUTH HOMELESSNESS AND DUAL DIAGNOSIS – Between the cracks

Session Overview:

Evidence tells us that mental health issues are a key risk factor for youth homelessness. Headspace estimates that 48-82% of homeless young people have a diagnosable mental illness.

The mental health of homeless young people is exacerbated by substance abuse and often we fail these young people through the inability of different service systems to act as an ecosystem around a young person.

Presenters:

Keith Waters, Youth Development Australia, (MC)

Dr. Amanda Stafford, Emergency Medicine specialist from Royal Perth Hospital (RPH)

Elvis Martin, RUOK Day and Youth Development Australia

Cameron Boyle, Orygen Youth Mental Health

Melissa Barber, Youth Advocate

Jason Trethowan, Headspace

Peter Wearne, Victorian Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Organisation (VACCHO)

WHAT DOES A LIVEABLE INCOME SUPPORT MODEL FOR YOUNG PEOPLE LOOK LIKE?

Session Overview:

Income support for young people is widely acknowledged to be inadequate on several grounds – the level of benefit, its complexity and the fact that even when young people access the CRA, two-thirds are still in housing affordability stress.

What does a Youth Income Support model look like?


Presenters:

Kelly Fawcett, Foundation for Young Australians, (MC)

Kristin O’Connell, Australian Unemployed Workers Union

Dev Mukherjee, National Youth Commission Australia

Damiya Hayden, The Antipoverty Centre

Charmaine Crowe, ACOSS

EMPLOYMENT SUPPORT FOR AT RISK AND HOMELESS YOUNG PEOPLE

Session Overview:

Arguably all young people including the most vulnerable young people need support to succeed along pathways of education, post-school training and employment. 

What models of support do young people who experience homelessness need in order to achieve sustainable livelihoods? 

What reforms need to be considered in the Australian training and employment support systems?


Presenters:

Lisa Fowkes, Social Ventures Australia, (MC)

Ellen Jacobsen, Social Impact Manager HoMie

Wendy Caspar, Youth Projects

Maj. David Eldridge, Salvation Army

Emma Cull, Brotherhood of St Laurence

12:30pm
 
1:00pm
lunch and networking opportunity
Lunch time session
 
 
Special Session: Hear from young people on what a national homelessness strategy look like for them

Session Overview:

We’re turning the conference over to the young people in the room. Hear from Samantha Wilson, Elvis Martin, Danni Forster, and Ryan Clarke in a discussion about what a national strategy will mean for them and their ideas for policy change. 

1:30pm
Breakout Sessions
INDIGENOUS YOUTH HOMELESSNESS – A CONTINUal NATIONAL DISGRACE

Session Overview:

Indigenous Australians including young people are over-represented in the clients of the homelessness services system. 

How might this be addressed to reduce the flow of indigenous young people experiencing homelessness and to improve the appropriateness and effectiveness of the response?


Presenters:

Leonie Patterson, Anglicare NT (MC)

Loki Liddle, Poet

Michelle Lechleitner, Alice Springs Youth Accommodation and Support Service

Maria Mabo, Youth Empowered Towards Independence (YETI)

Kirra Voller, Youth Advocate

Justin Mohamed, Commissioner for Aboriginal Children and Young People in Victoria

Family Violence, IPV and Adolescent Violence in the home

Session Overview:

A major driver of young people becoming homeless is domestic and family violence associated with other issues that creates an untenable situation, requiring early intervention relief if that is possible, or an effective crisis response with pathways to supportive housing where early intervention is not possible. This workshop will explore how the national initiatives around addressing domestic violence may contribute directly and indirectly to a national strategic response to youth homelessness.


Presenters:

Dr. Lisa Harris, RMIT University, (MC)

Kelly-ann Tansley, DV Connect Qld

Associate Prof. Silke Meyer, Monash Gender and Family Violence Prevention Centre

Di Mahoney, Service Delivery Director BYS

Jo Howard, Family Violence/Adolescent Family Violence consultant

Kelly Broadhurst, Unison

Youth Homelessness Crisis Response Models

Session Overview:

Australia has one of the most developed homelessness services systems in the world (the Specialist Homelessness Services or SHS system), however, the SHS remains largely a crisis accommodation and support system. 

Investing in more crisis services cannot conceivably reduce homelessness but what innovation might render the crisis response more effective and efficient?


Presenters:

Liza Windle, Department of Communities, Housing and Digital Economy (MC)

Pam Barker, YFoundations

Ryan Clark, Youth Advocate

Donna Bennet, Hope Street

Sherri Bruinhout, Homelessness and Accommodation Support, Department of Health and Human Services (VIC)

ENSURING NO ONE IS LEFT BEHIND – COHORT SPECIFIC RESPONSES

Session Overview:

There are some specific cohorts of young people that may require a targeted response. 

What are the issues that need to be considered when deciding on the appropriateness of a special needs response as opposed to a generic support response? 

What evidence-based models are available?


Presenters:

Jahin Tanvir, Youth Advocate, (MC)

Queenie, Youth Advocate

Kai Schweizer, Youth Pride Network WA

Harpreet Dhillon, MYAN NSW

Lorna Robinson, The Constellation Project

Peter Wearne, Victorian Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Organisation (VACCHO)

THE CHALLENGE OF RESPONDING TO Under 16 YEAR OLDS EXPERIENCING HOMELESSNESS

Session Overview:

A long-standing issue has been the capacity of the status-quo of systems to respond to U-16 years-olds who experience homelessness due to family breakdown. Homeless services are not funded nor authorised to support children in this age group as clients in their own right, nor is a response from Care and Protection services, which are authorised to respond, typically something that can be depended upon.


Presenters:

Bryan Átherton, Uniting Communities SA, (MC)

Dr. Catherine Robinson, Social Action and Research Centre (SARC), Anglicare Tasmania

Dr. Justin Barker, Youth Coalition ACT

Annemaree Callander, Brisbane Youth Service

Dr. Elizabeth Watt, Yfoundations

3:00pm
Plenary

Next Steps – Developing a National Strategy To End Youth Homelessness

Adongwat ‘AD’ Manyoul, Conference MC

Associate Professor David MacKenzie, Upstream Australia Project

Melanie Redman, A Way Home Canada

 

3:45pm
Youth Debrief

Reflecting on the Day

This session is reserved for young people to meet, debrief and discuss the events of the day in a private and safe space, and will be facilitated by our young conference MC. 

Conference Auspice

Sponsors

Platinum

Gold

Silver

Bronze

Supporters and Session Sponsors