In 2020, MWF’s membership awarded their $35,000 Nurturing Grant to HAAG to support its Preventing Older Women’s Homelessness – Peer Education Program. This program aims to help prevent homelessness amongst older women – the fastest growing cohort of people at risk of homelessness in Australia.
The pandemic and associated public health measures led to delays in project timelines and HAAG’s capacity to deliver on all the objectives outlined in their original submission to MWF. They are very proud of what they have achieved despite these challenges. The Peer Education program has been formalised, with all structural processes in place, and with training successfully delivered via a hybrid virtual and in-person model.
The training provided has supported the development of HAAG’s peer educators – empowering them to share their story, raising awareness within the community of the factors that place older women at risk of homelessness. One Peer Educator has already been filmed for an independent documentary on older women’s experiences of homelessness; and described this as one of the most positive experiences of her life. Their Peer Educators have also provided lived-experience voices to HAAG’s submissions to government recommending greater funding of services supporting older women and increased public housing supply.
We are pleased to report that HAAG’s planning for delivering peer and community education into 2022 is now underway. HAAG staff and one of their Peer Educators will be on a panel with Dr Kay Patterson, Age Discrimination Commissioner, discussing the risks of homelessness for older women over six days in late March 2022, as part of the MPavilion public talk series called ‘Making Home’
MWF funding has provided a foundation that will strengthen the program’s capacity to be robust and sustainable into the future and allow HAAG to continue to support peer education as a tool for early intervention to prevent homelessness. We look forward to seeing the results of their ongoing advocacy work and community education to improve outcomes for older women at risk of homelessness.