17th Reintegration Puzzle Conference

Rydges World Square, Sydney
19th-21st June 2024

Stepping Up

Cheryl McKinley

Homelessness Manager, Victoria West
The Salvation Army

My career with The Salvation Army began in 2011. This was also where my work in homelessness and justice began.
2011 – Casual IAP worker
2013- Tenancy Plus Worker
2018 Access Point Coordinator
2020 –Western Metro Homelessness Manager (incorporating the Housing Pathways Program (Prisons) in 2021)
2022 – Vic West Regional Homelessness Manager

2011- Diploma of Community Services and Community Development
2021- Graduate Certificate in Social Science- Housing Policy and Management

The greatest achievement for the Vic West Homelessness team, has been the increase in resources to people connected to the justice system. The humble beginnings of the Housing Pathways Program were a team of approximately 7 workers. Due to the expansion of the response to people in custody (2022) and the new Court Service program (2023), the team has grown to approximately 30 team members, including leadership.

My reflections of working in the sector for over a decade, is witnessing the negative impacts of social and structural disadvantage. Low-income support, steady increases to the wait lists for social housing and limited housing resources, are challenges faced on a daily basis. However, as sector workers, we do not give up, we continue to strongly advocate and bring change, however small, where we can. With the goal of improving the lives of those we have the privilege of working with. Outcomes may not always be the provision of a home but may be a social outcome and an increase in self-worth or value, which I feel is more important.

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