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On the eve of Homelessness Week, a passionate group of industry leaders gathered to discuss the main drivers of youth homelessness and what can be done to bring about systemic change.

On 3 August, Qualitas hosted a Property Industry Foundation boardroom lunch: Bringing about Systemic Change: A Discussion Paper on the Main Drivers of Homeless Youth. The lunch brought together 26 industry leaders to consider the findings of the discussion paper and hear from frontline charities in the youth homelessness space.

Kathleen Yeung, Qualitas Global Head of Corporate Development and a member of the Victorian Board of Advisors was pleased to help facilitate the event. “The hope is that by bringing together a group of people passionate to help drive change, in a setting that allows for discussion, we can drive more action – as we start to better understand why young people become homeless in the first place. The objectives of the lunch were to firstly provide a deeper understanding around the main drivers of youth homelessness, but secondly to get the lunch attendees to engage in discussion on ways to help, measure success and to understand what more can be done.”

A panel discussion invited the group to gain a deeper understanding of the link between family breakdown, experiences of trauma and mental health challenges and homelessness for young people. “The panel discussion was moderated by Matt Nacard, Chief Executive Officer (CEO) and Co-Founder at Ethical Partners with Nicolas Brown, CEO at batyr and Dr Michelle Blanchard, a Special Adviser for the National Mental Health Commission. Nicolas and Dr Blanchard each brought unique perspectives that made the conversation engaging and insightful as they discussed how we can achieve systemic change in a real and practical way.”

Tim Slattery, Chair of the Victorian Board of Advisors for the Property Industry Foundation spoke about the Foundation’s ongoing work and how the property and construction industry can play a practical role in solving the issue. “The lunch series highlights the work of the Foundation and their funding for systemic change, as well as the work of other charities in the systemic change space,” says Kathleen. “The more that related charities can work together to address the main drivers for youth homelessness, the greater chance of change – along with funding support from corporations.”

The lunch allowed for informal discussion and enquiry into the complex reasons for homelessness in Australia and how communities, businesses and government can work together to affect change. “The hope is that the attendees share the discussion paper and information from the lunch amongst their networks – stimulating further engagement on the topic – and ideally more people and corporates impassioned to have an impact and help drive change.”

This was the first in a series of Boardroom Lunches – the second will be hosted by KPMG on 13 September.