At our Pulse Meeting on 19 June a brand new capacity building and co-design project for people who have or are experiencing housing precariousness was launched.
Shelter WA in partnership with the State Government through a grant from the Department of Finance and contracted support from Tenancy WA have developed the Hear of My Experience (HOME) Project. The project will empower people who have lived experience of housing insecurity and homelessness to have a greater voice in the sector and society through the establishment of a co-designed speaker’s bureau.
Presenters Jack Thornton, Policy and Project Officer at Shelter WA and Vachel Spirason, Community Legal Education Coordinator at Tenancy WA outlined how important it was to have a dedicated body for people with lived experience.
“HOME will actually be a dedicated speakers bureau that is formed for and by people with lived experience, where they can effectively engage and share their experience in a way they feel comfortable and safe. For Government, media, corporations, academia and even us in the community sector - instead of arbitrarily and sometimes inappropriately trying to find someone with relevant lived experience to inform their work” said Mr Thornton.
“We will help train, resource and support people with lived experience through a workshop process, as they take the lead together in more effectively sharing their story. It will be a great platform to share their experience in a well-structured and professionally applicable way in informing Government policy or media for example.”
The workshops will be informed by the lived experience group in how the group can workshop and train to share their experience. The project is seen as one that delivers a number of positive outcomes to advance lived experience input and advocacy.
“It will be great capacity building for the sector. We will also be using the co-design principles with the lived experience group in the workshops and we want to use this project’s experience as a case study for co-design by making a toolkit for lived experience co-design. So the project has a good mix of applications.” said Mr Thornton.
He explained the HOME Project currently only has capacity for eight people with lived experience to be speakers and its envisaged a HOME Speakers Bureau will have lived experience ownership with support from both Shelter WA and Tenancy WA.
“We will be launching the group later this year. We have formed an advisory group, we have had EOI’s out,” said Mr Thornton. “We are going to have a trauma support person at the workshops for the selected individuals with lived experience, so they are properly looked after and they feel comfortable sharing their experience.”
Vachel Spirason recalled the conversations he had had with lived experience representatives and how they had been approached in the past.
“I’ve had people say the approach to provide lived experience input was not done properly. They were not given the right psychological support, they felt exploited, or felt like their stories were being used in a context they did not feel comfortable with.
“There is a huge range of issues where people with lived experience have been brave enough to want to tell their story but are butting up against situations where they are having a hard time in being engaged in a way that feels safe for them or feels empowering for them.”
Mr Spirason outlined the types of lived experience they are looking for.
“I want to emphasise this is not just homelessness, this is broadly housing security and homelessness. We are looking to try and get a range of experiences which might also be people who have experience mortgage stress, and housing insecurity or renters. We are really trying to tap into a range of experiences to demonstrate how broad these issues are. A lot of these issues feed into each other.”
There are still many unknowns as to how the body will operate, and this is why a co-design process is being undertaken.
“Exactly how the body and the system will operate is unknown. We really want the cohort to tell us what it looks like. We want people with lived experience to be helping to draw the parameters of what the engagement looks like, and how the engagement should be done and done well.”
Expressions of interest are currently being compiled and later this year the bureau will be launched. The group will be remunerated for their participation. In the meantime a series of workshops are being designed to allow a training process for the selected cohort covering areas such as media and public speaking sectors.
For more information click here.