Helping the homeless

TALKING SOLUTIONS: Faye Chapman from CAFS will be taking the fight for Aboriginal housing in Ballarat to Melbourne.
TALKING SOLUTIONS: Faye Chapman from CAFS will be taking the fight for Aboriginal housing in Ballarat to Melbourne.

Faye Chapman will bring a Ballarat perspective to the Victorian Homelessness Conference later this month. 

Ms Chapman works with Aboriginal people in Ballarat who are homeless or facing vulnerable housing situations as an Aboriginal tenancies at risk worker with Child and Family Services (CAFS). 

On average she helps about 70 clients but often helps more than 100 Aboriginal people in Ballarat a year.

Ms Chapman helps Indigenous people apply for housing, sustain their tenancies, work through any issues they may have, makes referrals to appropriate agencies, and provides assistance with VCAT. 

She will be speaking about helping Indigenous people as part of a panel at the conference aimed at strengthening cultural responses and improving outcomes in Aboriginal homelessness.  

Having never been involved with a public speaking conference before, she is a bit nervous but Ms Chapman said she is looking forward to working towards solutions with other agencies. 

“I found out it'll be at the Melbourne Town Hall and there will be about 300 people there but hopefully we'll be able to put our views across about what's needed,” she said.

Ms Chapman said there needs to be more cultural awareness when it comes to aboriginal housing. 

“A big issue with ATSI clients is cultural practices around things like funerals,” she said. 

“A funeral can go up to a month or longer because if someone passes the living family may travel interstate; using money to stay and support their families and stop paying rent.”

Ms Chapman said a lot needs to change and hopes being a part of the conference will allow her to share ideas and solutions with other agencies.

“There needs to be more early intervention and better ways of keeping people in their properties and discussing what the government can do in this space,” she said. 

Ms Chapman, along with many other representatives, will attend the Victorian Homelessness Conference in Melbourne on September 16 and 17.