Youth Pathways Logos

Finding innovative pathways for at-risk youth

The mental health, economic, legal, family issues that places a young person on a pathway ending in homelessness are complex.

While there are a number of 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.

This is the challenge that the proponents of this project are seeking to address.
How can we incentivise novel solutions, delivered collaboratively by multiple service providers with different approaches and ideas informed by the latest evidence?

15 & 16 October 2020Oak Room
49 Laverton Avenue
Fairbairn ACT

Applications close 9th October

The opportunities

There are a number of opportunities available for selected team/s who participate in the Youth Homelessness Pathways Challenge. These opportunities are supported by Hands Across Canberra, The Snow Foundation, The Mill House Ventures and PwC.


Selected team/s will be invited to apply for initial funding from a pool of up to $200k; provided in collaboration between Hands Across Canberra and The Snow Foundation.


Access to resources from the Mill House Social Accelerator, including consultation on application development to the value of $10,000.


A number of pro bono offerings provided by PwC to enhance the selected team/s business proposition, these items include;

  • A facilitated workshop to help define/refine the problem, or a joint facilitated workshop with members of the industry/sector to co-design the solution;
  • Business set-up and accounting to give them the right foundations; including the incorporation and/or establishment of arrangements between the parties involved;
  • Mentoring and relationship assistance, access to an experienced business professional to bounce ideas off and to make connections to potential collaborators, clients or suppliers;
  • Research, analysis or visualisation of data to support the development of solutions;
  • Project planning for further analysis of the problem and/or development of solutions.

Seeking solutions in:


Using the small connected city of Canberra, how can we build on the existing infrastructure in social services and create sustainable pathways for young Canberrans who are at risk of homeless, including prevention and advocacy.


How might we increase opportunities for new and established service providers and social entrepreneurs to develop new and targeted services?

New/Different Services

How might we work collaboratively and holistically to build on existing services and address service gaps in a way that leads to vulnerable youth to overcome the challenges that make them more likely to end up homeless?

Families & Community

Where family reconciliation is desirable and achievable, how might the community be engaged in supporting, mentoring and ‘shoring up’ these families?

Safe Spaces

How can we create spaces for youth social connection, wellbeing and advocacy that can be accessed by a range of providers as and when required by the young person?

Technology and Social Entrepreneurship

How can we leverage technology and the tools of the market place to support the impact we desire to achieve?


How can we create alliances and working collaborations to enhance impact of individual services and create a more holistic offering?

Youth Pathways Logos

Making an impact on youth homelessness in the ACT


Do I have to register as a team?

Yes, you are encouraged to register a team of between 3 and 6 people.

How much time do I have to commit?

The challenge will be run over a week with mandatory sessions throughout.

  • Monday 12th October
  • Wednesday 14th October
  • Friday 16th October

I’m already working on an idea, can I use that?

Teams are more than welcome to compete in the hackathon with an existing idea that they are already working on, but will need to be willing to learn and grow their proposed solution.
The workshops and mentor sessions are designed to push teams to test and refine their solution to develop a compelling final pitch for the judges. During a hackathon, ideas may pivot or shift based on customer and mentor feedback which is all a part of the process!

Who owns the IP to the ideas generated?

All submissions to the hackathon remain the intellectual property of the individuals or organisations that developed them.

How is the event being run to be COVID Safe?

All measures will be taken to ensure the safety of all participants, facilitators and mentors. Appropriating spacing between work desks, sanitising stations and check-in requirements will meet the current safety standards.

Where is the event taking place?

The event will held face-to-face and will either be held at the Canberra Airport – Oak Room, 49 Laverton Avenue, Fairbairn ACT

Why Canberra?

Canberra is a small jurisdiction that has a committed social services sector and a buy in from both the federal and local government. Novel approaches originated here in consultation with the users and all stakeholders can be piloted quickly and learnings can be adopted as we go. We have access to world class researchers, motivated social and technology entrepreneurs as well as service providers striving to make a difference. And we are calling them all to join us as we try to find better ways to address some of the following challenges.

Downloadable Resources

Get involved. Register your team.