August 22, 2018
Foundation Housing hosted one of several Couch Conversations across Perth to enable people to gain a deeper understanding of homelessness. This was part of a series of events for Homelessness Week to raise awareness for people who are sleeping rough every night. The theme for this year was “There’s always something you can do.”
Couch Conversations see a small audience speak with someone with lived experience who agrees to talk about the topic and answer questions through informal discussion.
Foundation Housing invited two of its tenants to speak who had both been homelessness for a period of time for different reasons before finding accommodation through Foundation Housing. One was a single man in his early 50s and the other was the mother of two children who she had with her while she was homeless.
The venue for the event was the Oxford Yard which is part of the Foyer Oxford. The café was filled with people there for the event who grabbed a coffee and some food before it started. Foundation Housing CEO Kathleen Gregory opened the event, speaking about the #EndHomelessnessWA campaign and the WA Alliance to End Homelessness.
Kathleen encouraged the audience to support ending homelessness by writing a letter to their councillors or MPs saying they were happy to share the place they lived with more people. She said they could also support a family who might otherwise struggle to rent somewhere and that they could contact Foundation Housing about our private rental scheme for social housing tenants with us as managers.
The speakers then introduced themselves and engaged in conversation with the audience that split into two smaller groups to listen to them as they told their two different stories and answered a range of questions about what day to day life is like when you don’t have a home.
Their stories demonstrated how people from any background can end up homeless for a variety of reasons. The experience has stayed with them with one of the speakers saying how they thought of other people still experiencing homelessness during the wet winter months very night. There are currently over 9000 West Australians that are homeless.
On a positive note, the Australian Alliance to End Homelessness that Foundation Housing is a part of received a Lotterywest grant of $750,000 to help implement its 10-year strategy to end homelessness once and for all – not just manage it.