RAAFA was proudly represented at the inaugural Homeless Veteran Forum on 2 February, which was held at ANZAC House by RSL Victoria in partnership with RSL Care SA.
Ian Craig, Head of Clear Skies and Tonia Zeeman, Chief Operations Officer, were the RAAFA representatives who headed over to Victoria to take part in the forum, which was focused on helping to tackle one of the most significant challenges facing the veteran community nationally - homelessness.
According to recent data from the Australian Housing and Urban Research Institute, veterans are at higher risk of homelessness, they’re more likely to be homeless for longer, less likely to access mainstream services and also face a multitude of factors placing them at risk of homelessness.
“It was an incredibly valuable forum, particularly to be able to confer with experts around Australia who are involved in helping to tackle this issue,” said Ian.
“There is a big difference in talking to people about homelessness, and those who are experts in veteran homelessness and have experience, skills and insight that are so valuable to RAAFA as we continue to work on our Andrew Russell Veteran's Living (ARVL) Program in WA.”
As guest speakers shared their learnings as a result of supporting veterans who have lived experience of homelessness, several common themes emerged, including the need for partnerships, prevention and treating the root cause of homelessness.
“One of the biggest takeaways was the need for just one clear, coherent voice in talking to government and politicians to bring about better collaborations and better outcomes,” added Ian.
“We very much feel that together we can share our expertise and provide a united front to represent veterans across Australia.”
During the forum, participants were captivated by a short video produced by RSL Care South Australia where veterans shared their raw and emotive journeys that led them to homelessness.
A second Homeless Veteran Forum is planned for later in the year, where more collaboration and work will be shared. Watch this space for more updates on this important issue, which RAAFA is very much committed to.
If you’d like to be part of the solution and would like to help make the ARVL program come alive in WA donations can be made via our website (raafawa.org.au).