The 8th National Homelessness Conference
With five hundred delegates, three days and more than fifty presentations and workshops, the 8th National Homelessness Conference: Complexities & Countermeasures was a feast of international and Australian information, research, knowledge, stories and experience that all focused on homelessness, the issues surrounding homelessness and a collaborative way out.
Highlights of the conference included the three, international, key-note speakers, from Canada, the USA and the UK, who inspired their audiences with insightful, proven methods that are employed in their homelands to address homelessness and domestic violence.
Dr Stephen Gaetz, Director of the Canadian Homelessness Research Network discussed Housing First models in Canada and then presented a conceptual framework for preventing youth homelessness.
Colin Falconer, from the Foyer Foundation in the UK, motivated delegates with his 'Advantaged Thinking' address. 'Advantaged Thinking' focuses on strengths rather than the negatives when interacting with clients.
Cindy Southworth, from the National Network to End Domestic Violence, caused her audiences to reassess their technology use. She delivered several thought provoking sessions on using technology and data effectively, and in a way that does not compromise survivor autonomy or safety.
Out of 'session', the networking highlight was the conference dinner: an unforgettable night hosted by RocKwiz's Brian Nankervis. The depth of music knowledge in the homelessness sector is amazing!
Another heartening aspect of the conference was the range of non homelessness-sector organisations who were involved as delegates, presentations or sponsors. This reinforces the understanding that homelessness is bigger than one sector, and that sectors must unite to succeed. Thank you to Australasian College of Optometry, Alzheimer's Australia, Lighthouse Media, Max Employment and beyondblue for their presentations and support.