Halving homelessness in Ballarat is a community effort

Community thinktank: Members of the audience take their seats for last night's Halving Homelessness pitch. Picture: Caleb Cluff.
Community thinktank: Members of the audience take their seats for last night's Halving Homelessness pitch. Picture: Caleb Cluff.

Ballarat showed its willingness to address the issue of homelessness last night as over 70 people turned out to Housey Housey in Armstrong Street to hear the pitches of 15 teams formed to come up with solution for the problem.

The Halving Homelessness Think Tank Ballarat has been a process of funnelling a large number of ideas and proposals to assist those less-well-off into a manageable set of proposals that could be acted upon by authorities, agencies and those tasked with responding to the homeless, as well as community outcomes and actions.

Members of council, local health and welfare agencies, the Youth Council, businesses and members of the public gathered to hear the results of 600 original ideas from 158 participants that had been filtered into 24 prototypes and then into the final pitches.

Leadership Ballarat and Western Region communications manager Chloe Biggins says the Think Tank wants the community to take ownership.

“Tonight is not about ‘the winning pitch’; we’re looking at the ideas and then we want the community to come on board, take ownership and bring them to fruition,” said Ms Biggins.

Ian Hall was making a pitch for a tiny house concept, using the idea of a community hub of converted shipping containers – an idea he gladly admits he has seen in other states.

“It’s an active area for the people to live in, and also they’d be responsible for the creating of the houses and keeping it all up. There are containers and there are tiny houses you can build.”

The Youth Council also looked at a community hub proposal. Proponent Jodie Downey said that there was no solution to homelessness without adequate housing.

“It’s not just a place to live: what’s around the hub is education, training, retail, food, community. It’s all about building community.

“We also want to create a better youth culture as a whole in Ballarat.”

Halving Homelessness: Think Tank Ballarat is presented by Leadership Ballarat & Western Region, Committee for Ballarat and UnitingCare Ballarat.