Our last Pulse Session held on Wednesday, 6 October covered off several exciting developments underway across the homeless and housing sectors.
Presentations were made by Shannen Vallesi a Research Associate from the School of Population and Global Health at the University of Western Australia on An Evaluation Snapshot: Youth Experiences of Housing First.
Following the Youth snapshot an update was given on The State of the Youth Sector Forum, the Youth Affairs Council of WA’s (YACWA) annual gathering of over 70 frontline youth workers. This was delivered by Sandy McKiernan the Acting CEO at YACWA and Dr Ellie Tighe from Ruah Community Services reported on the feedback from participants at the forum about the Youth Experiences of Housing First snapshot.
The next presentation encompassed the official launch of the By-Name List Dashboard. Michala McMahon, Zero Project Manager at Ruah Community Services toured the website and its components for the first time including a section about Connections Week.
The last update, led by John Berger, Executive Officer of the WA Alliance to End Homelessness, looked at how do we end rough sleeping through a collaborative governance structure and what do organisations need to be able to contribute confidently towards the work of ending rough sleeping.
Youth Experiences of Housing First
Launched in October 2021, An Evaluation Snapshot: Youth Experiences of Housing First draws on data collected as part of the 50 Lives 50 Homes project (2015-2020), the snapshot highlights key insights and vulnerabilities facing young people experiencing homelessness. It also explores the impacts of the Housing First approach for young people, framing the conversation towards the development of a Housing First for Youth (HF4Y) model.
Since 50 Lives 50 Homes project commenced a total of 427 individuals have been supported, of which 110 (26 per cent) were aged 25 or under at the time of consent. Most of the young people supported by 50 Lives 50 Homes were female (58 per cent), with just under a quarter (23 per cent) identifying as Aboriginal.
Watch the presentation.
At the conclusion of her presentation Shannen spoke with participants in a zoom breakout room about the themes and issues identified in the snapshot.
State of the Youth Sector Forum
The State of the Youth Sector Forum was held on Monday, 4 of October. Youth Experiences of Housing First was launched at the event along with an examination of several prevailing issues. This year the main topics included youth justice; housing and homelessness; mental health; alcohol and other drugs; youth employment; child protection and education.
During her update Sandy revealed that in partnership with Mike Rowe, Director General Department of Communities, YACWA will host a Youth Homelessness Roundtable in the “coming weeks”. “That hopefully will springboard youth homelessness as it feels it just got left behind in the bigger picture of homelessness in the last few years,” Sandy said.
Ellie presented feedback she received about the Youth Experiences of Housing First snapshot in her role as a table facilitator at the forum. “There were a lot of frustrations that frontline service workers are holding young people for a long time as there was no suitable accommodation options for them,” Ellie said. “There were calls for the ‘Tom Fisher’ model which is very effective with adults but there is nothing in the space for the young people. There was an emphasis on independent units … and the desire for young people to go into places they own and could care for which were right for them with flexible, appropriate and relational supports around them.”
By-Name List Dashboard
“I am excited and nervous,” Michala said at the start of her presentation. “This has been a long time coming and the Zero Project team have been working tirelessly to get this (website) off the ground and to make it public.”
The Zero Project coordinates and supports the By-Name List (BNL) in Perth, Fremantle, Geraldton, Bunbury, Rockingham and Mandurah. The Perth/Fremantle BNL achieved quality data earlier this year, a culmination of considerable work of the sector for the past few years. The BNL enables the sector to collaboratively track and quantify homelessness across an agreed geographic area to work as a system by making agreed improvements towards achieving functional zero. Key to this making the data visible for all to see by developing a dashboard.
Watch the presentation.
Taking everyone through a tour of the new website Michala highlighted some of the functions in addition to the dashboard. Areas include news and updates, training and events and community sector partners.
You can view the website here.
Connections Week (1 - 12 of November)
Teale Merritt, Project Lead for Connections Week pointed out an area of the new website which allows volunteers to register to participate in Connections Week 2021.
This year there will be multiple count areas including a central count covering the City of Perth, City of Vincent, Town of Victoria Park and City of Subiaco. There will also be a northern corridor (City of Joondalup, Wanneroo and Stirling) count and separate counts in Midland, Armadale and Fremantle.
“We are calling for volunteers if anyone wants to be involved,” Teale said. This is a really great opportunity to get involved … and to be able to connect with people on such a different and respectful level.” Volunteers receive a voucher and a breakfast pack and will be given training.
To volunteer click here.
Rough Sleeping Governance Structure
In June 2021 the WA Alliance to End Homelessness held a workshop which was facilitated by the Innovation Unit with a focus on how we end rough sleeping through a collaborative governance structure.
“We looked at what are the risks of doing this and what do organisations need to be able to contribute confidently towards ending rough sleeping,” John said. “While it is clear several organisations are active in this space, we wanted to hear from agencies who are a key part of the solution but not as active at that point in time.
“We are also aware of the fact that the government has a key role within all of this and they are now going to appoint a Homelessness Sub Committee through the Supporting Communities Forum to oversee the implementation of their 10 Year Strategy.
“We need to follow the lead of the Advance to Zero approach which requires us to no longer work in isolation as single service programs but to work collaboratively as a system driven by a joint vision and goal and informed by the data.
“This Governance Prototype tries to bring everything together an overarching structure that can empower the on ground services and feed information up the line and help shape the policies and influence key decision making.”
The audience were then shown the current iteration and were encouraged to provide feedback. This was done both by participants in a zoom breakout room facilitated by John and by a second group at The Platform location of the Pulse Session.