Discussion Paper: Main Drivers of Youth Homelessness. July 2023

As the creator of homes and communities, our industry can and should play a role in addressing youth homelessness. Our vision is a safe home for every young Australian.

Our mission is to increase the number of bedrooms available for homeless youth and support initiatives that have a tangible impact on youth homelessness. In addition, the Foundation allocates 20% of all fundraising to driving a systemic change agenda geared at reducing and preventing youth homelessness in the first place.

We do this through partnerships with other charities, companies and staff in the property and construction industry.

This paper on the main drivers of youth homeless is intended to inform a targeted series of industry sessions to bring together industry knowledge on this important subject, and to explore the potential to support organisations operating in this space.

At the Property Industry Foundation, we want to have a tangible impact on the lives of homeless youth and believe that our building program – the Haven Project – is the right response. We put 80 per cent of our capital, time, and energy here and that means that last year we built 20 more bedrooms for homeless youth.

We know that 335 young people took refuge last year in the bedrooms that we have built – that’s 86,870 safe nights of sleep. However, we acknowledge that you cannot end homelessness by building bedrooms alone which is why the remaining 20 per cent of our capital, time and energy is now directed towards supporting initiatives that bring about systemic change.

Systemic change requires you to look at the whole of the problem, rather than just one part. When you look at the whole of the problem there is one key question that becomes startlingly obvious – why do young people become homeless in the first place? We can build more bedrooms, but if we don’t stop young people becoming homeless, we will never move the dial. Supporting systemic change means that we want to support the redesign of the system, rather than continue pouring resources into a system that does not achieve the results we want for the most vulnerable in our society.

Systemic change is a huge area and because it can be the opposite of obvious and linear, it can be hard to know where to start. That’s why we are delighted to be identifying systemic change projects with the support of Qualitas and KPMG.

Click here to read our discussion paper or view below.