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A group of 30 engaged industry leaders attended a KPMG-hosted boardroom lunch to discuss the root causes of youth homelessness and how the property and construction industry can be advocates and drivers for change.

On September 13, KPMG hosted the second and final Property Industry Foundation boardroom lunch in Victoria for 2023 – an initiative to open conversation around the key drivers of youth homelessness in Australia with leaders in the construction and property industry. The lunch brought together 30 guests to discuss the lack of affordable housing options and pathways for young people in Australia, drug and alcohol dependencies, the challenges of Out of Home Care, readying young people for independent living, and the need for wraparound services.

Attendees heard from three frontline charities in the youth homelessness space: Dr Eamonn McCarthy, CEO, Lighthouse Foundation, Stephen Nash, CEO, Kids Under Cover and Laura Mahoney, Executive Director, Homelessness Solutions & Impact, Launch Housing. The guest speakers were well-received by the audience and their engaging and informative presentations provided an opportunity for attendees to ask questions, find out more about the current state of youth homelessness in Australia and how they could become advocates for change within their communities.

The speakers pointed out some fantastic government initiatives and partnerships with the sector during these very tough times and the importance of working with the government on a youth housing strategy and case for greater investment.  “The luncheon series in Victoria provided the opportunity for the industry to hear directly from our charity partners on the current challenges they face working on the front line,” said Priscilla Heathwood, Property Industry Foundation’s State Manager – Victoria. “These series is pivotal in bringing the discussion of youth homelessness to the table and how the industry can best work together to provide impact and support on the issues our charity partners have identified.”

The lunch allowed for informal discussion and deeper enquiry into the complex reasons for youth homelessness and how to address the root causes, including offering more affordable housing. “Youth homelessness is an enormous problem that requires a community-wide approach to end it,” says Dr McCarthy. “The need for safe, plentiful and purpose designed property will be central to any solution, which relies heavily on the expertise within the Property Industry Foundation and their partners. Combining leaders from across the industry allows for the greatest chance of identifying, promoting and executing upon society-changing solutions.”