Authors: Neville Braybrook and Karen Spinks, VIC
Event: 2009 TheMHS Conference
Subject: CONSUMERS, SOCIAL JUSTICE, SOCIAL INCLUSION, Homelessness: what future?
Type of resource: Conference Presentations and Papers
Abstract: This paper presents, through the results of a survey, the experiences of homeless mental health consumers regarding the lack of supported accommodation, the quality of supports available in the context of housing and homelessness, and the already known impacts of these issues for them (Homelessness Taskforce, 2008. pp 8-9). The findings of this survey, along with a gap analysis of unmet demand, were presented by The Homeless Outreach Psychiatric Service as evidence to a Victorian Parliamentary Inquiry into the provision of supported accommodation for Victorians with a disability or mental illness during hearings in October 2008. Strikingly consumers reported a direct correlation with homelessness and a deterioration of their mental health along with exposure to criminality whether it is victim or perpetrator. The basic human rights and social justice issues around housing are the focus through the perspectives of consumers, clinicians, and support workers. Notwithstanding the peculiarities of the Victorian context, this paper intends to speak to common themes around the benefits of working in partnership with consumers in advocacy (Mulvaney 1995, cited in AHURI), taking the opportunity in political processes when they present, and persisting in the face of sometimes overwhelming difficulties.