Youth advocate has eye to fight homelessness

Youth advocate has eye to fight homelessness

Twenty-five-year-old Elvis Martin has recently returned to Melbourne after winning a Young Community Achiever of the Year 2021 award, as part of the India Australia Business & Community Awards (IABCA).

Since 2013 the IABCA is the largest platform that exists to celebrate the India-Australia relationship while simultaneously contributing to its development.

The award was given in acknowledgement of Elvis’s work in the community with Red Cross, Youth Development Australia (YDA), Mental Compliance Health Commission and the Victorian Mental Ill-Health Awareness Council.

“The award is really a recognition of all the great work that is being done by so many others as well. Collaboration between sectors is a critical aspect,” Elvis told Southbank News.

The young Southbank resident is involved in areas of youth advocacy, ranging from mental health, youth homelessness, racial diversity, women’s rights, domestic violence, LGTBQI and youth suicide and he even sits on a few boards including Youth Development Australia.

“In my current role, as principal youth ambassador for Youth Development Australia I applaud the work of the organisation and have every confidence that we will get there,” he said.


This conversation is a big one and deserves the support from all levels of government as well as the private sector.


Elvis recently spoke at the National Youth Commission Australia’s NYC Inquiry, which is billed as a platform through which “your ideas and solutions can be heard and acted upon”.

The NYC inquiry draws together the expertise and lived experience of young people with ideas from the broader community, to create a new agenda for preparing young people with the skills and capabilities they need now and in the future.

“The content of this speech centred around youth homelessness and the importance of a national strategy to end youth homelessness. A national strategy will enable us to move closer to solutions that are workable and that can be sustained through this decade and beyond,” Elvis said.

He told Southbank News he had experienced some challenging times himself and that these had helped shape his mind-set and feel more compassionate, while helping him to understand the wider social issues and the struggles others faced.

“Homelessness affects us all – the economy, the health sector, industry as well as individuals and their families. It requires robust discussion at the YDA Conference with a view to representation at the highest levels with the findings,” he said.

The National Youth Homelessness Conference will take place on June 15 and 16 and will bring policy experts together with young people with lived experiences of homelessness •

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