More speakers and sessions announced for the 2018 National Homelessness Conference

Major program update with over 40 speakers announced

9 May 2018

The National Homelessness Conference is shaping up to be a vital conversation with now over 40 speakers confirmed across a range of important sessions and topics.

The Conference program features keynote presentations from international experts including Juha Kaakinenn, CEO of Y Foundation, Finland, exploring Finland’s considerable success in ending homelessness using the Housing First model, and Professor Marah Curtis, University of Wisconsin-Madison, USA, engaging with research on how poverty and overlapping vulnerabilities impact on housing and homelessness.

Together with the keynote plenaries, the Conference will also present 12 concurrent sessions featuring the insights of practitioners, policy makers, researchers and those with lived experiences of homelessness. The sessions will explore themes such as Aboriginal homelessness; making the private market work in addressing homelessness; unique and lived experiences of homelessness; and best practice housing and support responses for those escaping domestic and family violence.

One keenly anticipated session is ‘Beyond blankets and handbags’, which will examine effective private sector investment and donation strategies to assist in addressing homelessness. As many working in the sector know, well-meaning business and corporate efforts to respond to homelessness are often ineffective and can normalise homeless rather than seeking to end it.

Beyond blankets and handbags’ features speakers such as Felicity Reynolds, from the Mercy Foundation NSW; Gavin Jackman from The Big Issue ‘Homes for Homes ’; and respected researcher Dr Cameron Parsell, from the University of Queensland, exploring how the sector best engages effectively with those who want to help and what strategies are worth considering.

The ‘Ending rough sleeping, what works?’ session will explore what are the best practices in assertive outreach and permanent supportive housing responses to homelessness across Australia. Katherine McKernan, from Homelessness NSW, will facilitate the session featuring Karyn Walsh, from MICAH Queensland; Debra Zanella, RUAH Community services in Western Australia; Yvette Park, Department of Housing and Community Development Northern Territory; and Sherri Bruinhout, Assistant Director, Homelessness and Accommodation Support, Department of Health and Human Services Victoria. All the speakers have much to bring to the conversation, with practical experience of homelessness programs and of government strategies.

The Conference is essential for all working in the sector or with a strong interest in solutions to homelessness. It will present case studies of best-practice; unpack the latest international and national evidence; and provide important opportunities for delegates from across the country to debate and collaborate towards ending homeless together.

The National Homelessness Conference, Ending Homelessness Together, will run from the 6 and 7 August 2018 at the Melbourne Cricket Ground. The early bird registration is only available until Friday 1 June.

For further information and to register, please visit the conference page on the AHURI website.

The 2018 National Homelessness Conference is co-convened by AHURI and Homelessness Australia.