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Youth Homelessness Pathways Challenge

20 October 2020

The Snow Foundation, Hands Across Canberra, Canberra Innovation Network and the Mill House Ventures, developed a new pragmatic approach designed to engage the youth homelessness sector.
A Pathways Challenge delivered in hackathon-style encouraged members of the community to demonstrate their ideas collaboratively with the opportunity to receive a portion of the $200,000 up for grants.

The mental health, economic, legal, family issues that places a young person on a pathway ending in homelessness are complex. While there are many services in the Canberra ecosystem doing excellent work that is focussed on specific youth interventions, the problem remains a wicked one and young people fall through the cracks. Even when individual providers do great work, the system fails because resourcing across the system is uneven and there are no sufficient incentives for services to partner to generate new solutions.

The Challange Statement
How can we incentivise novel solutions, delivered collaboratively by multiple service providers with different approaches and ideas informed by the latest evidence?

Over 48 hours 36 participants in 11 teams assisted by 12 mentors worked together to identify, develop and pitch 8 novel concepts to address the 2020 Youth Homelessness Pathways Challenge.

Four teams have been invited to move to the next stage of the program to refine their idea and apply to the funding pool to kick-start their initiative.


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Participants experience
‘ A great mix of expertise and knowledge coming together for positive impact.’
‘ This is a great model to promote collaboration across an industry sector – I recommend everyone uses this to solve wicked problems.’
‘The hackathon is a great way to meet others interested in solving the same problem and see how participants from different backgrounds and experiences generate a wide range of ideas and solutions.’

Watch this space to find out how these ideas develop through 2021!

Media release annoucing challenge – September 2020