Details for Teachers

Homelessness is damaging to people’s lives and has severe and lasting impacts. The importance of having a safe and affordable home cannot be overstated.

The good news is that homelessness can be solved. Evidence shoes that safe appropriate, affordable housing ends homelessness. Some people may need extra support to stay housed, but most people just need a home.

This year, the Mercy Youth Awards will inform students about the widely entrenched myths of homelessness, how you can help dispel those myths and find out how homelessness can be solved.

By working together, we can end homelessness.

1. Introduction

The Mercy Foundation Youth Awards is a competition open to high school students across Australia from Years 7 – 12. Each year, the Mercy Youth Awards encourages students to gain an understanding of social justice issues in Australia and how we can work to address these issues. This year our focus is on homelessness. This unit can be incorporated into parts of the syllabus including Science, English, Art and RE Studies.

2. Competition Details

The theme for 2023 is what does home mean to you? Students are challenge is to:

1) Create a visual representation, such as a cartoon, artwork, collage or photo, that shows ‘what does HOME mean to you?’. Students are asked to take a photo of their creation and upload it with their entry form on our website (NB no faces in the photo).

2) Each entry must include a written paragraph (no longer than 100 words) that explains the photo (ie what does home mean to me).

3) AND fill out the Ending Homelessness quiz on the online entry form.
Visit our website for the entry form and to learn more about homelessness.

3. Important Notes:

  •  Only one entry per person
  • An entrant is an individual student
  • Strictly no faces to feature in the image
  • No brand names or logos

4. Judging

The judging committee comprises staff and Board members of the Mercy Foundation and a special guest judge. Entries will be assessed according to the accuracy of quiz answers and the content, creativity, originality, effort and quality of both the photo and written content.

The school that submits the most entries will win $250. Please encourage your students to participate!

5. Entries

  1. Entries must consist of a photograph uploaded with the online entry form. The online entry form is available on our website
  2. Photographs should be a maximum of 2MB and in the format of a JPEG, GIF or PNG. JPEG is the preferred format. A PDF will also be accepted.
  3. Photos should be saved using student’s name and school e.g. SmithH_SydneyHigh.jpeg
  4. If for any reason they are unable to use the online entry form, please contact us by email or call 02 9911 7390.
  5. By submitting an entry, the student acknowledges that they have read and accepted the Terms and Conditions for the Mercy Foundation Youth Awards 2023. The Terms and Conditions are available on our website
  6. The photo and entry must be the student’s original work created for the competition.
  7. The Mercy Foundation will acknowledge all entries received. It is your responsibility to ensure that we have received your entry.
  8. Photographs may be exhibited at a public event later this year. More information will be provided closer to the event.
  9. The closing date is 5 August 2023.

For more information, please call the Mercy Foundation on 02 9911 7390 or email


1st Prize: $1,000 to the winning entrant AND $1,000 to the winning school

2nd Prize: $500 to the winning entrant AND $500 to the winning school

3rd Prize: $250 to the winning entrant AND $250 to the winning school

$100 vouchers will be awarded to 10 highly commended entries AND $250 will be awarded to the school that submits the most entries.

Schools are requested to spend their money on social justice resources and/or activities to promote social justice in your school and/or a charity addressing social justice issues in Australia.

Note that more than one winner may be awarded in each place. If this is the case, the prize money will be shared between the winning entrants and the winning schools.

The total Prize pool is $4,750