Community seeks funding for leader to help halve homelessness

WORKSHOP: Committee for Ballarat chief executive Melanie Robertson addresses the Halving Homelessness workshop last August.
WORKSHOP: Committee for Ballarat chief executive Melanie Robertson addresses the Halving Homelessness workshop last August.

Transforming ideas in to action needs a dedicated community catalyst, according to members of Halving Homelessness: Think Tank Ballarat.

The group is seeking state government funding for a leadership position which will drive novel ideas from the community as solutions for homelessness in Ballarat.

“We want Think Tank Ballarat to be more than just idea generation – we want to help the community to deliver tangible projects, with support and assistance from the experts and leaders in the industry,” said Committee for Ballarat chief executive Melanie Robertson.

The group has called on the state government to fund a two-year, full time Community Catalyst plus an operational budget for community activities.

Last August the first Halving Homelessness Think Tank workshop was held where about 150 community members brainstormed more than 600 ideas to tackle local homelessness. Community teams further refined ideas to the point where 18 potential projects were pitched to the community last September.

Halving Homelessness wants to halve the number of people sleeping rough and in insecure accommodation around Ballarat through innovative approaches and a network of community members working with existing service providers.

Potential projects identified include tiny houses, humanising homelessness through storytelling, and a peer-to-peer web service platform.

Initially the role will provide hands-on project management and leadership to empower the community to self-manage projects in the future, and it is hoped eventually the community catalyst model could be expanded to tackle other social problems around Ballarat.