Consumer Participation (PESP)

The Peer Education Support Program (PESP) is a volunteer program that provides people who have experienced homelessness with the opportunity to improve the service system.

PESP team members play a key role in promoting the benefits and transformative power of consumer participation in service system and policy development.

PESP activities include:

  • consumer participation training and advice
  • group and individual presentation
  • peer facilitation of focus groups, interviews or surveys
  • peer support
  • media activities
  • consultation with all levels of government
  • consultation with the specialist homelessness support services (SHSS) and related sectors
  • participation in working/steering groups and committees.


Meet our PESP team

Our current PESP team is made up of 5 remarkable people who’ve all experienced homelessness themselves and who now volunteer their time to help others understand homelessness, its causes and, its solutions.  Learn about our current PESP members


Graduate members

When they have finished their term PESP members have the opportunity to become graduate members. PESP graduates have had a range of experiences and are available for activities if you wish. Please contact Cassandra Bawden if you are interested in having a PESP graduate involved in an activity. 

Graduate members continue their involvement with CHP through activities such as presentations, special projects and consumer consultations.


Understanding Homelessness training

Presented by PESP members, this training provides a comprehensive overview of key homelessness issues from the perspective of individuals who have lived it.

Learning objectives
To provide participants with a more detailed understanding of homelessness— its definitions, causes, effects and the lived experience—in order to inform their work with people who are experiencing homelessness and to respond in an appropriate manner.

Topics covered
• statistics and definitions of homelessness
• myths and facts
• causes and effects of homelessness
• consumers of homelessness services
• personal experiences
• rights-based approach versus charity.

1.5 hours

To book this training for your organisation, team or staff, contact Cassandra Bawden, PESP Team Leader on 8415 6210 or [email protected]

Download the flyer here.


Local councils

Councils can create greater awareness about issues of homelessness, affordable housing, family violence and poverty by engaging a homelessness advocate:

  • To deliver an ‘Understanding Homelessness’ training session for staff
  • As a guest speaker at a local council event
  • For consultation in the development of an affordable housing and/or homelessness strategy

Download the PESP for local councils flyer here.


More information

For more information—for you or a consumer—download the PESP information sheet in colour or the PESP information sheet in black and white for easy printing.

You can learn more about the program by reading the following reports:


Experiences of consumer participation in PESP

An evaluation of the PESP program, titledHomelessness, learning from those who’ve lived it: Evaluation of the Peer Education and Support Program‘ is now available. It is the first evaluation of consumer participation in Victoria’s specialist homelessness service sector. 


Contact PESP

You can contact Cassandra Bawden, PESP Coordinator via email or by phone on 8415 6210.