Understanding diverse experiences of homelessness at the National Homelessness Conference

Panel to examine homelessness services for LGBTQI and culturally diverse communities

12 June 2018

Maha Abdo OAM

The public perception of someone experiencing homelessness is often of an older male, sleeping rough.  The ‘Respecting difference’ session at the National Homelessness Conference will explore beyond this stereotype and examine unique lived experiences of homelessness for LGBTQI and culturally and linguistically diverse communities and explore the role of specialist and mainstream services for these groups.

The session will be facilitated by Maha Abdo OAM who has spent over three decades working together with the Muslim Women Association to help give Muslim women safety and assurance in difficult and trying circumstances. The Association leads the Linking Hearts service, providing holistic and culturally sensitive support options for those at greatest risk of homelessness.

Kai Schweizer

The panel session will feature experts, alongside those with lived experiences of homelessness:

  • Dr Ruth McNair, an Honorary Associate Professor with the University of Melbourne who is active in LGBTQI policy and community development and in 2017 led a LGBTQI Homelessness Research Project for the Gay and Lesbian Foundation of Australia.
  • Monique Dam, the Advocacy and Prevention Manager with Domestic Violence NSW who is currently the convener of the Women with No Income on Temporary Visas working group, which is advocating for women who have no access to income and who are experiencing domestic and family violence.
  • Kai Schweizer is a peer educator at the Youth Affairs Council of WA and freelance educator specialising in professional development for diverse sex, sexuality, and gender inclusion. Having previously experienced homelessness, Kai works with many organisations within the homelessness sector to ensure LGBTQIA+ people have access to safe and inclusive services.

The National Homelessness Conference, Ending homelessness together, will take place on 6 and 7 August 2018 at the Melbourne Cricket Ground.

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