Supporting young people to reduce housing stress and start a future that means something to them

Supporting young people to reduce housing stress and start a future that means something to them

Joseph Borlagdan, Emma Cull, Anita McCurdy and Brea Dorsett
28 July 2021

This webinar will explore how a capabilities approach can help young people navigate housing stress and other challenges.

Register for this free event

28 July 2021 13:00 to 14:00 AEST
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Teenage girl looking around the new empty apartment with cardboard boxes in the foreground

The COVID-19 pandemic put additional strain on young Australians in housing stress. Service responses often focus on the deficits and challenges experienced by this cohort, and how these can be overcome. A capabilities approach offers an alternative way of supporting young people to address housing and related stressors to establish goals and positive pathways. 

This webinar will explore a capabilities approach and how it can apply to young people experiencing housing and related stressors. Specifically, the webinar will:

  • Explore COVID-19’s impact on young peoples’ experiences of homelessness

  • Provide an overview of a capabilities approach and its application to work with young people

  • Provide a case study example of a capabilities approach in action as a response to housing and other stressors.

This webinar will be of interest to professionals working with young people across housing, mental health, out-of-home care, education and other child, youth and family services.

We encourage you to test your system before the webinar, and read our  Frequently Asked Questions .

Featured image: © GettyImages/Alex Potemkin

About the presenters

Joseph Borlagdan

Dr Joseph Borlagdan is a Principal Research Fellow at the Research and Policy Centre, Brotherhood of St Laurence. He leads the Youth Opportunity team that conducts research and evaluation in the areas of youth unemployment, education, leaving care, and homelessness. With his team, he has recently completed the first longitudinal study investigating the effectiveness of the Education First Youth Foyers, an innovative model supporting young people experiencing, or at risk of, homelessness. Joseph is passionate about the role of sociology in addressing social problems and served as the inaugural Applied Sociology portfolio leader on The Australian Sociological Association executive. His work brings together theoretical and practical knowledge to inform systemic change using adaptive methodologies. 

Emma Cull

Emma Cull is Senior Manager, Youth at the Brotherhood of St Laurence (BSL). Emma has been involved in leading the development and delivery of a number of youth programs and initiatives across BSL, including playing a key role in the development of the Education First Youth Foyer model and key initiatives in leaving care, education and employment. Emma has worked in the community sector for over a decade and is passionate about working at the nexus of policy, practice and research to inform long-term and systemic solutions to disadvantage.   

Anita McCurdy

Anita McCurdy has lived in Shepparton for over 20 years after obtaining a Bachelor of Arts at La Trobe University, Bendigo, majoring in Psychology and Sociology. During this time, Anita has worked in the not-for-profit community services field where her urge to advocate for young people has grown from her groundwork as a foster care worker to her current role as the first Senior Manager of the Shepparton Education First Youth Foyer and Better Futures Program. Anita has returned to Berry Street after 10 years with experience in a number of leadership roles at the Youth Crisis refuge and Beyond Housing. In these positions, Anita grew her passion for leading teams in building and nurturing workplace culture for successful outcomes. Anita has recently completing a Masters of Social Work and has been a participant of the Fairley Leadership program, where she aspired to build business and community partnerships in the Goulburn Valley that create opportunities to identify, develop and invest in the skills and capabilities of young people. 

Brea Dorsett

Brea was exposed to various traumas from family and relationship challenges to school bullying. Amidst this, Brea managed to juggle the stress of VCE and couch surfing for two months. Her couch surfing experience came to an end when she found the Foyer Shepparton, where she received support from staff who became family and a place to call home. Brea says that ‘I do not appreciate the situation, but I appreciate the growth that came from the situation’, and through a substantial process of healing and self-development, Brea has gone from a timid, withdrawn, anxious teenager to a young woman who booms with confidence and radiates warmth.

Brea’s experience ignited her passion for self-love and personal development, which she believes everyone deserves, even if they haven’t had others look after them in the past. Brea has grown in all aspects of her life, from being too anxious to answer a phone, to managing a gym by the age of 21. From being in a dark place struggling with a lack of purpose to stepping into the highest version of herself and loving each breath of air she takes. Brea has become a self-love and self-care advocate in the Greater Shepparton community, featuring on local podcast ‘Gv Talks’. She feels it is her duty to share her knowledge, skills and experience to help others avoid going through the ‘hard yards’ she has. Brea has returned to the Foyer Shepparton, volunteering to coach and mentor young people whose shoes she was once in.


I am very interested to hear about the capabilities approach as it applies to young homeless people.
Lesley Dickenson

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Register for this free event

28 July 2021 13:00 to 14:00 AEST
Register to attend