Western Australian Alliance to End Homelessness (WAAEH) lived experience advisor Jonathan Shapiera says he is 'flabbergasted' by his nomination in the 2018 Impact 25 Awards.
The Impact 25 awards are a well-established accolade that recognises the most influential people as nominated and voted for by their peers. Nominees can sit in not-for-profit organisations, corporations, government, social enterprises or simply be notable individuals.
"I am flabbergasted that someone even nominated me," Mr Shapiera said. "Seeing the names of people on the list, many of whom I have interacted with regularly to get information or help, means I am honoured to be in some very prestigious company."
Jonathan and his son were homeless for several years. Since being off the streets in 2014 he has worked diligently towards an awareness program about being homeless and discussing the problems a person faces on the streets from his own lived experience.
He was the first ever homeless person to present to the Federal Senate Inquiry in 2014 and is the first ever individual homeless person to have an idea adopted by federal government from that Inquiry. He has spoken at various conferences and forums across the country on homelessness and mental health. He has been recognised as a leader in bringing forward the lived experience of those who are homelessness in WA.
He has spoken for four years on the medical issues of being homeless which is now being recognised by UWA and others in the sector. Post-Homeless Stress Syndrome is a phrase he has campaigned about associated with a homeless person’s mental health after leaving the streets. He has alone taken some 80 people off the streets and organised them into housing, all out of his own pocket on Newstart Allowance and with no other benefit supplied. He has been recognised by nearly all existing social services across WA involved with homelessness as the founder of creating a better way forward for those living on the streets.
An integral part of WAAEH, Jonathan's lived experience and suggestions are making a serious contribution towards starting an end to homelessness in WA.