Lilly facilitating activities at the Youth forum on Housing and Homelessness

Youth Homelessness Matters: and young people want solutions.

April 17, 2024
Get in touch if you want help engaging young people in the design of programs and policies that matter to them.A young woman presenting at a workshop about responding to climate change in relation to housing and homelessness. She is pointing to a board that is sectioned into different areas with sticky notes attached to it. The sticky notes seem to contain ideas or concerns regarding climate change, likely contributed by participants during the session. The woman is actively engaging with the content on the board, indicating a discussion or a collaborative planning process.
Lilly facilitating activities at the Youth forum on Housing and Homelessness

Today is Youth Homelessness Matters Day, an important day for learning, listening and understanding the impacts of homelessness on young people across Australia.  

It is also a day to celebrate young people’s resilience and to advocate for sustainable and innovative housing solutions.  

Hearing from young people about what is needed for the future of housing was an important part of discussions during the engagements we delivered in 2023 to inform a new National Housing and Homelessness Plan.  

Hear from our Engagement Coordinator, Lilly, about what listening to other young people meant to her and our engagement process.


Towards the end of 2023, I had the exciting opportunity to travel to Hobart, with Kate and Eadie, to help facilitate a Youth Forum for the National Housing and Homelessness Plan.  

This Plan will aim to help more Australians access safe and affordable housing.    

Having recently completed a Bachelor of Science in Environmental and Development Studies, one of the Plan’s long-term goals caught my interest – the intersection of climate change and housing. This turned out to be a central theme at the Youth Forum.

Sustainable solutions to housing issues  

My studies focused on solutions that balance the three dimensions of sustainability - environmental, social, and economic. Sustainable development, at its core, means finding the sweet spot between environmental protection, social fairness, and economic profitability.  

The intersection of climate change and housing is a significant challenge but also provides us with an opportunity for these three dimensions to come together.  

  • Environmental solutions emphasise using resources responsibly and ethically, including being mindful of how we use energy, materials, and spaces.  
  • Social solutions focus on the well-being of individuals and communities. Solutions include building community resilience and ensuring fair distribution and access to housing resources.  
  • Economic solutions advocate for a regenerative economic system that meet current needs without compromising the future. This could involve investing in green technologies such as solar panels for homes, which reduce electricity costs.  

As someone under the age of 25, the challenges of entering the housing market are starkly real to me. It’s important to have a say on issues that directly shape our future. Young people are acutely aware of the urgency surrounding climate issues, understanding that the decisions made today will have a significant impact on the severity of challenges in the years to come.  

Young people face up to the challenge  

The perspectives and solutions young people contribute are crucial for shaping balanced and inclusive policies and strategies for future generations to inherit. Young people are ready to offer solutions and government needs to hear from them.  

So, the Youth Forum event was a great chance for us to listen to what young Australians envision for their housing future.  

With about 20 young people in the room, we heard important discussions on how homes, neighbourhoods and processes could be improved or reimagined, especially around the themes of:  

  • the journey to safe and affordable housing
  • support for young people in housing need
  • the relationship between climate change and housing access  

I was impressed by the topics brought up! Tackling complex and sensitive issues can often lead to focusing on shortcomings or the negatives, but instead discussions naturally gravitated towards possible solutions, creative suggestions, and innovative ideas. This created a positive and hopeful environment.   

Key takeaways from a dynamic engagement  

 My first engagement event left me with some key takeaways:    

  • It’s important to create a positive, hopeful, and safe environment so that people can discuss sensitive topics.
  • We need diverse viewpoints to create policies that are effective for everyone.  
  • Conversations, discussions, and solutions centred around lived experience are as important as they are impactful.  
  • Not only do we need young perspectives on solutions, but young people are ready to give them and be heard!  

My insights reflect The Social Deck's core values, highlighting our commitment to meaningful engagement by prioritising deep and quality interactions over simple participation.  

I felt inspired listening to and talking with future change makers.  

How can we help?
Get in touch if you want help engaging young people in the design of programs and policies that matter to them.
Lilly Klein
Administration and Engagement Coordinator