On Thursday the 8th of August, AIS hosted a panel discussion on homelessness in partnership with the Salvation Army, African Australian Multicultural Employment Services (AAMEYS) and the Australian Relief Organisation. The discussion featured the stories of two panellists Angie and Trevor, residents of the Collingwood Football Club’s Magpie Nest Foundation, who were able to add their personal experiences to a panel of experts. Angie talked about how she was being stalked by someone and the effect this had on her mental health. She also mentioned how difficult it was to have regular stable work. Trevor commented about the multiple employment redundancies he endured as being the primary factor for him being on the street.
In addition, the panel featured Anthony McEvoy representing the Salvation Army, Councillor Beverly Pinder Chair of the Melbourne City Council’s Homelessness Advisory Committee, David Emerson from the Magpie Nest Foundation, and Executive Director Mission at St Vincent’s Hospital Margaret Stewart. It was moderated by journalist Ali Moore from 774 ABC Radio.
The discussion touched on important topics including how many people live daily on Melbourne’s streets, public housing funding and mental health issues affecting homeless Australians. With estimates of over 170 people still living on the streets in Melbourne, the discussion highlighted the importance of programmes centred around social, medical and logistical services including what the government and organisations such as the Salvation Army and Magpie Nest do for individuals in need.
Homelessness is an issue that is increasingly affecting Australians and must be brought to attention. The panellists furthermore discussed the need for a review of current public housing to assess and potentially allocate new members, as well as the need for continued funding to homelessness services. Health and mental health services were also discussed, to which the personal experience of the panellists made for an extremely rewarding evening during homelessness week.
For more on this event please see the video and photos below.