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Homelessness: A failure of the system


Steve Spinks
27 March 2012
The United Nations estimates there are more than one billion people homeless every night. In Australia, estimates are that the figure is about 100,000 people.

With homelessness a growing phenomenon in light of the global financial crisis a seminar devoted to understanding homelessness will be held at Southern Cross University with the keynote speaker Professor Mary Lee Rhodes of Trinity College, Dublin.

The seminar will be held at SCU’s Gold Coast campus from 2pm on Wednesday, March 28, and will be available in Lismore through videoconferencing. The seminar is open to members of the public and is free. It is being hosted by the University’s Research Centre for Tourism, Leisure and Work.

The two hour event will focus on housing and homelessness services in Ireland to develop an understanding of the ways in which homelessness can be addressed. Homelessness can be considered a failure of the service system to deliver housing for those who require shelter.

The seminar explores the causes of homelessness, from both a structural and individual viewpoint and discusses the recent Irish Government strategy to address adult homelessness. An examination and evaluation of the proposed performance indicators for preventing homelessness will follow.

Professor Rhodes focuses her research on complex public service systems and the dynamics of performance. She is also involved in research and management in the non-profit sector and has experience in managing banking operations and technology with JP Morgan and as an economic analyst with the US Department of Agriculture.

“Professor Rhodes has published numerous articles on housing as a complex adaptive system and has recently completed a book on Complexity and Public Management,” the Director of the Research Centre for Tourism, Leisure and Work, Professor Kerry Brown said.

“Her current research is on the nature and dynamics of performance management and she is developing research on social entrepreneurship, social impact and well-being.

“We are delighted to host Professor Rhodes for this seminar which will discuss such an important area of society – homelessness.”

Photo: Professor Mary Lee Rhodes