Lived Experience

The voices of lived experience are central to everything we do.

People with lived experiences of homelessness have valuable knowledge, insights and expertise. They are the experts in talking about the individual and collective impacts of policies and systems. Putting a ‘face’ to homelessness and showing that it is not a lifestyle choice or a personality flaw, is crucial to ending the stigma that makes homelessness tolerable.

By providing a platform for people with lived experience to share their stories, we are also letting them know their voices are important, and that we see and hear them.

(Image: Akemi, Lived Experience Advisory Program)

Lived Experience Advisory Program (LEAP)

Launch Housing’s first foray into “consumer participation” began in 2016, with the formation of the Lived Experience Advisory Group (LEAG). The LEAG was a group of up to 10 members, broadly representative of the diverse range of clients we serve.

From 2016 to mid-2020, the LEAG were strong contributors to Launch Housing’s services, policy and advocacy, as well as the organisation’s business and strategic planning.

Collectively the group shared their expertise to ensure that our services are safe, appropriate and responsive to people’s needs. They also contributed to Launch Housing advocacy for broader systems change to end homelessness.

Their involvement included:

  • Consulting with, educating and influencing operational responses across various public services;
  • Consulting on local government homelessness policies including: Yarra City Council, Moreland City Council, City of Melbourne;
  • Providing input into the Victorian Department of Health and Human Service’s ‘Exploring the pathways approach to homelessness’ framework;
  • Contributing to Launch Housing’s submission to the Royal Commission into Victoria’s Mental Health System and the Victorian Parliamentary Inquiry into Homelessness;
  • Participating in media interviews, speaking engagements, social services sector training, social media campaigns
    Writing articles published in the Council to Homeless Persons (CHP) national homelessness journal ‘Parity’.

In 2020, we refreshed our Lived Experience Participation Strategy, and expanded the structure from a Group to a Program. This means that many more people with lived experience of homelessness can contribute to our strategic aims, and rather than rely on a small group we instead seek to partner with and embed client voice in services directly.

Now, we will provide opportunities for many more service users to contribute their unique lived expertise, learn new skills and be empowered. We remunerate Lived Experience Advisors for their expertise, according to Launch Housing policy.

How to engage with lived experience

For lived experience speakers, Q&A panellists or educational homelessness training sessions, please contact [email protected]

How to join the Lived Experience Advisory Program (LEAP)

Launch Housing clients may submit an Expression of Interest (EOI) to join the Lived Experience Advisory Program (LEAP). As project vacancies arise, the Lived Experience Coordinator will be in touch to arrange an informal phone interview.

More information, and how to apply.