Finding innovative solutions to homelessness at #NHCSydney

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Homelessness and related housing issues have dominated the media and much of the political debate this year.

It is widely recognised by policymakers, housing experts and the public that Australians need greater access to safe, secure and affordable housing.

With more than 100,000 people homeless in Australia on any given night, now is the time to create real change. Our political leaders are engaged in discussions on homelessness policy reform and widespread media coverage is generating community conversation.

Our recently released conference program outlines the wide range of sessions focussing on this important issue at the upcoming National Housing Conference. These sessions will provide a wealth of knowledge for specialist homelessness services providers, policymakers, and allied practitioners working to improve homelessness and housing outcomes.

Gail Gilman, CEO of Community Housing Partnership, USA, joins us for major concurrent session Homelessness in 2017: is early intervention and prevention working? This session will examine how well Australia’s homelessness system has transformed from crisis response, to early intervention and prevention and how Australia’s system compares to the US.

Gail will be joined by a leading panel of professionals from the government and prominent community housing organisations.

We will delve further into homelessness-related issues with the major concurrent session State(s) of housing policy and the new National Housing and Homelessness Agreement (NHHA), presented by eight state housing specialists with a round-up of housing policy innovation from across the nation.

With Federal and State governments negotiating a new NHHA, this is an ideal time to analyse how the states and territories are responding to this new framework.

The major concurrent session Closing the Indigenous housing gap investigates how we best create better housing choices for Indigenous Australians. This session will focus on the impact of many of the unique challenges involved, such as remoteness of communities, culturally appropriate housing, overcrowding and the high rate of Indigenous homelessness across Australia.

Led by a panel of government experts, including Graham Searle, Director General, Department of Communities in Western Australia, Dianne Gipey, CEO Alice Springs Women’s Shelter, and Shane Hamilton, CEO Aboriginal Housing Office – FACS NSW, this session will examine the different state and housing policies to provide better housing choice and improve housing outcomes for Indigenous Australians.

Harnessing new technology is on the agenda for major concurrent session Digital technology for tenants and the homeless. Presenter Lance Carden, Director Customer Service and Business Improvement at NSW FACS, will focus on using digital technology as a tool to deliver the best outcomes for public and social housing clients, and people experiencing homelessness.

Carden will examine how using geospatial technology can help rough sleepers connect with service providers to programs that encourage residents to effectively engage with governments online.

A range of minor concurrent and Think Tank sessions will focus on the myriad homelessness issues facing our diverse communities across Australia.

The Social impact investment for housing and homelessness session highlights the potential of social impact investment for funding and financing solutions to complex social problems.

Community-wide collaboration, involvement and culturally appropriate solutions for Indigenous people will be discussed during the Collaboration, culture and community: leading practice in homelessness session.

The issues related to housing in the senior community will be examined in the Think Tank Stemming the tide: responding to the increase in older women’s homelessness.

With strong political will and public appetite for real reform, the National Housing Conference presents an opportunity to come together and help deliver real action on homelessness.