This year’s conference program is packed full of essential conversations, including keynote addresses and plenaries, along with networking sessions and the Victorian Homelessness Achievement Awards.

Learn from leaders of the sector, people with lived experience of being without a home, and experts from home and abroad.

Day One

Monday November 20

9am: Welcome

Jane Barnes, Chair CHP

9.20am: Welcome to Country

9.35am: Ministerial Address

Katie Hall MP, Parliamentary Secretary for Housing

9.50am: Keynote Address

Effective Systems to End Homelessness

People experiencing homelessness are not randomly distributed but instead part of a larger population of disadvantaged households. In this Keynote Address, internationally renowned systems expert Professor Eoin O’Sullivan will outline a conceptual framework of the dynamics of homelessness, to inform our practices and policies to devise integrated strategies that can end homelessness.

Keynote Speaker:
Professor Eoin O’Sullivan, Trinity College Dublin

11am: Morning Tea

11.30am: Plenary Panel

A safe home: Unfinished business from the Royal Commission into Family Violence

The Government says it has implemented all 227 recommendations of the Royal Commission into Family Violence. But family and domestic violence remains the primary reason women and children seek specialist homelessness services. And only 3.2% of those consumers are receiving long-term housing solutions. In this Plenary Panel, we discuss what more needs to be done to solve this urgent problem.

Tania Farha – CEO, Safe and Equal  

Panel Members
Livia La Rocca – General Manager of Safety and Resilience, Good Shepherd
Wayne Merrett – CEO, WAYYS  
Shorna Moore – Head of Policy, Advocacy and Government Relations, Melbourne City Mission 
Vicky Vacondios – PESP graduate, Council to Homeless Persons   

This session is generously supported by KHQ Lawyers.  

12.40pm: Lunch

1.30pm: Concurrent Sessions

Addressing housing barriers for LGBTIQ+ Victorians

Location: Main Hall

LGBTIQ+ Victorians are almost three times more likely to experience homelessness than the general population. They are often also dealing with complex challenges such as childhood trauma, abuse, and poor mental health. This session explores current gaps and future directions in LGBTIQ+ homelessness service provision, and best practice to support LGBTIQ+ consumers.

Matthew Parsons – Manager LBTQIA+ Inclusion, Vincent Care 

Panel Members  
Kaye Bradshaw – LGBTQIA+ Inclusion Lead, Uniting Vic. Tas.
Callum Fearne – Pride in Place Principal Practitioner, Drummond Street  
Simon Ruth – CEO, Thorne Harbour Health
Michelle Thompson – CEO, Family Access Network
Joshua Tilley Darvill – Acting Northern Community Hub Manager, Vincent Care  

This session is generously supported by Neami National.  


An introduction to Person-Centred Practice

Location: Yarra Room

Person-Centred Practice helps consumers by ensuring services centre on what is safe and meaningful to the individual. But it also helps practitioners retain a sense of purpose and meaning in their work, even when faced with a frustrating lack of housing options to offer. This session explores the best practice model for Person-Centred Practice, its benefits, and how to implement it in organisations.

Helen Duggan – Director Services, Council to Homeless Persons 

Panel Members: 
Silvana Izzo (she/her) – Health and Wellbeing Consultant and Somatic Therapist  
Jody Letts – PESP Graduate, Council to Homeless Persons
Helen Matthews – PESP Graduate, Council to Homeless Persons

(Please note: This session is not available for On Demand viewing.)


From crisis to community: Redefining assertive outreach for Regional and Outer Urban Victoria

Location: Supper Room

Regional and outer urban service providers are reporting a sharp increase in people rough sleeping, and a new kind of rough sleeper with different support needs and complications than traditionally encountered. This session explores how agencies are improvising responses to a new problem they are not funded to deal with; and how we as a community can respond.

Leanne Mitchell – Churchill Fellow

Mitch Burney – General Manager: Youth & Housing Supports, Quantum
Adam Liversage – Senior Manager, Uniting  
Jason Russell – PESP Graduate, Council to Homeless Persons  
Heidi Tucker – CEO, Anchor  

(Please note: This session is not available for On Demand viewing.)

2.40pm: Afternoon Tea

3.10pm: Plenary Panel

Empowering Change: Recognising Peer Support Workers as experts in our sector

Peer Support Workers are embedded as essential parts of the workforce in the AOD and mental health sectors, but the homelessness sector continues to lag behind. This session explores the value these expert practitioners provide, and what needs to be done to integrate Peer Support Workers into the system in a strategic, supported way.

Cassandra Corrone – Team Leader: Peer Education Support Program (PESP), Council to Homeless Persons

Panel Members:
Jeremey Gunning – Peer Support Worker, Uniting 
Stacey Park – Team Leader: Assertive Outreach, Uniting
Nigel Pernu – PESP Graduate, Council to Homeless Persons

4.20pm: VHA 2023

Celebrate the exceptional efforts of workers, consumers and organisations within the homelessness sector, with the Victorian Homelessness Achievement Awards. Who will take home the awards this year?

Hosted by comedian Alex Ward.

The Consumer Achievement award is generously supported by Wellways.

The Awards for Excellence in Ending Homelessness are generously supported by VincentCare.

5pm: Networking

Join us for drinks and nibbles, as you continue the conversation with your colleagues in the sector.

These Networking Welcome Drinks are generously supported by Sacred Heart Mission.

Day Two

Tuesday November 21

9.10am: Day Two Welcome/Day One Recap

Stephen Schmidtke – Board Member, CHP and Deputy CEO, Sacred Heart Mission

9.20am: Keynote and Panel

A new model for youth housing in Victoria

More than 3,200 young people aged 15-24 seek help from homelessness services in Victoria every day. In response, the youth housing and homelessness sector has developed a new framework for design and implementation of a fit-for-purpose youth housing model. This Keynote Address and Panel introduces and explore this new model, and discusses next steps for engaging with Government to support its adoption.

Keynote speaker:
Vicki Sutton – CEO, Melbourne City Mission 

Panel Members:  
Dannii De Kretser – Deputy CEO, Homes Victoria
Deborah Di Natale – CEO, Council to Homeless Persons  
Sarah Toohey – CEO, CHIA Vic
Tyler – Lived Experience Adviser, Melbourne City Mission

10.30am: Morning Tea

Featuring a Coffee Conversation with Margaret Quixley, Campaign Manager of Everybody’s Home – the national campaign to fix the housing crisis.

11am: Plenary Panel

Mana-na woorn-tyeen maar-takoort: Every Aboriginal Person Has a Home

The Aboriginal Housing and Homelessness Framework provides a 20 year agenda to close the gap in disadvantage that so many Aboriginal Victorians experience when it comes to having a home. Three years after development of the Framework, how are we progressing?  

Panel Members:
Tim Cronin – Manager, Homelessness System Reform, Aboriginal Housing Victoria 
Jason Russell – PESP Graduate, Council to Homeless Persons
Sarah Sheppard – Women’s Services Manager, Women’s Housing Ltd
Darren Smith – CEO, Aboriginal Housing Victoria 

12.10pm: Lunch

1pm: Concurrent Sessions

Ageing in a Housing Crisis

Location: Main Hall

Recent research shows a growing proportion of older people are renting privately or paying off a mortgage as they reach retirement age. At the same time, it is becoming increasingly difficult for older people on low incomes to find a home in the private rental market. With limited support available for older people at risk of or experiencing homelessness, some older people are entering aged care prematurely. This panel will examine the issues and some of the solutions to ensure everyone has access to a safe, secure home as they grow older. 

Fiona York – CEO, Housing for the Aged Action Group 

Panel Members: 
Vera Considine – person with lived experience 
Bryan Lipmann – CEO, Wintringham
Peter Sibly – General Manager, United Housing Cooperative
Prof Wendy Stone – Swinburne University of Technology 

This session is generously supported by the Housing for the Aged Action Group.

Exploring Family Inclusive Approaches – What does that look like in your Practice?

Location: Yarra Room

This panel of case workers and therapists will demonstrate how they collaborate and work towards improving relationships and connections between young people and family. 

Douschka Dobson (they/them) – Senior Policy Advocacy Officer, Melbourne City Mission

Panel Members: 
Ainsley Bedggood (she/her) – Operations Manager Youth Early Intervention and Homelessness, Melbourne City Mission
Harrison Carter – Psychologist/Director, Get Psych’d
Dean Ferris – Family Mediator, Mirror Bridge 
Claudia Mayes – Senior Case Manager Reconnect, Community Programs – MacKillop Family Services   

This session is generously supported by Melbourne City Mission.

(Please note: This session is not available for On Demand viewing.)


Pregnancy, young parents and babies and Homelessness

Location: Supper Room

When it comes to the experience of people being pregnant while without a home, there’s been much research and discussion but a lack of real action. Join this panel of practitioners, researchers and people with lived experience to hear their insights into what more can be done to achieve real change.

Heather Holst – Commissioner for Residential Tenancies 

Panel Members: 
Sally Coutts – Manager of Cornelia, The Royal Women’s Hospital 
Kerri Felemonow – Manager, Women’s Alcohol and Drug Service
Dr Juliet Watson – RMIT University 

(Please note: This session is not available for On Demand viewing.)


2.10pm: Plenary Panel

A Systems Approach to Ending Homelessness in Victoria: From Entry Points and Accommodation Towards Housing First and Permanent Homes

Facilitator :
Professor Eoin O’Sullivan – Trinity College Dublin. 

Panel Members:
Sherri Bruinhout – Executive Director, Homelessness and Housing Support, Homes Victoria 
Kate Colvin – CEO, Homelessness Australia
Tom Johnson – Deputy CEO, Council to Homeless Persons
Laura Mahoney – Executive Director, Homelessness Solutions and Impact, Launch Housing 

This panel is generously supported by Homes Victoria

3.20pm: Conference Close

Deborah Di Natale, CEO, Council to Homeless Persons

3.30pm: Afternoon Tea

3.45pm: CHP AGM

Location: Supper Room

4.45pm: Post-AGM Drinks

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