Room 221/223, Level 2, John Goodsell Building, UNSW Kensington Campus
Dr Heather Holst and Professor Anne O'Brien
Reports on homelessness have long invoked a sense of crisis and injustice. However, if there is a ‘crisis’ of homelessness, then Australia has been in crisis mode for a long time – well before the neo-liberal turn and well before homelessness was first legislated by the Australian parliament in 1974.
In this presentation, we argue that it is more productive to recognise homelessness as endemic rather than in crisis – not in despair, but because longer time scales than those employed by journalists and the social scientists on whose research they rely, will bring clarity to efforts to eradicate or at least significantly reduce it.
In particular, we will show how an historical approach can inform apposite policy intervention, how long-range examples can strengthen critiques of inconsistencies between rhetoric and practice, and how shifts and continuities in discourse demonstrate how language can obscure experience.
Heather Holst is the Deputy CEO of Launch Housing, one of Melbourne’s largest community housing organisations. She has been responsible for major housing and homelessness innovations, including the design of HomeGround Real Estate, Australia’s only not-for-profit property management and real-estate agency. In addition to research, service delivery and policy, she has lectured in history, including in the Clemente program for people who have been homeless. She is the author of the book Making a Home: A History of Castlemaine (2014).
Anne O’Brienis a professor of history in the School of Humanities and Languages at the UNSW Sydney. In different ways, all her research – on poverty, on gender inequality and most recently on Philanthropy and Settler Colonialism (Palgrave MacMillan, 2015) – has sought to enable historical knowledge to mitigate social inequalities. Her current research project is entitled Homelessness and Homeless people: an Australian history.
5.00pm - 5.30pm Reception
5.30pm - 6.30pm Lecture
This is a free event but registration is essential.