[Hpn] Re: Australia: Victorian Homelessness Strategy

Ria Strong strongvoice@start.com.au
Tue, 29 Aug 2000 21:13 +1000

My agitating has got me an invite to the Ministerial Advisory
Committee working group looking at ways of effectively involving
people in the consultation process.

The next meeting is on Thursday-- when *I'm* doing a 3-hr training
session in another city... damn!

I'm further ahead than I was, tho.

And I was *very* pleased to see someone else with direct personal
experience of homelessness on the working group! I don't know if her
participation is more than token-- but she's *there*. Better than an
Advisory Group on high-flying service managers.

- Ria

>In late July, a homelessness strategy consultation paper was released
>here in Melbourne, Australia. It's available in .pdf format here:
>A 12-member Ministerial Advisory Group has been formed, to "provide
>advice directly to the Minister and oversee the community
>process". No homeless or formerly homeless people have been included
>on the Ministerial Advisory Committee; it's made up of managers of
>The consultation process itself consists of 9 public meetings, a call
>for public submissions, and focus groups (as yet unannounced). An
>internet discussion board has also been set up:
>"People who are homeless are welcome to participate in any of the
>public consultation processes. A series of consumer participation
>consultations are being planned by a working party of the Ministerial
>Advisory Committee to ensure consumer input to the Strategy. This
>include both clients of homeless services and people who are homeless
>or at risk of homelessness but not able to access the current service
>Frankly, I don't believe homeless and formerly homeless people will
>involved in the consultation process in a more-than-tokenistic way.
>I'd *love* to be proven wrong, but...
>We don't have a network of homeless activists here; indeed, I don't
>remember *any* organising around homelessness issues. 
>There's just me. And a few disability activist friends, who have also
>been homeless. And a lot of very disempowered homeless people, using
>services run by (mostly) large church-based charities.
>In the disability rights movement, we have a slogan: "nothing about
>me, without me". Whenever decisions affecting the lives of people
>disabilities are being made, people with disabilities should be
>The slogan, of course, applies equally well to homelessness issues
>(and issues for all other marginalised groups). There should be
>"nothing about me, without me" and "nothing about us, without us"--
>whenever decisions affecting the lives of homeless people are being
>made, homeless people should be involved.
>What would you do, if you were me, to ensure that happens?

         Ria Strong            
     Melbourne, Australia      

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