Exploring “hot-topics”

Shelter WA accepted an invitation to address students participating in Curtin Academy’s International Interdisciplinary Industry Study Program.

Hot Topics

Students co-create directly with relevant academic, industry and government agencies to explore “hot-topics” that address the theme of academic global challenges with local action-research to support the planet. This learning is done across an international tour and students are encouraged use design thinking, a human-centered approach to creative problem solving.

To warm up the minds of the students three “hot-topics” were presented from a local perspective. Lord Mayor of the City of Perth, Basil Zempilas presented on tourism challenges, and Professor of Sustainability at Curtin University, Peter Newman spoke on the challenges of sustainability and cities.


Shelter WA Chief Executive Officer Kath Snell presented on the issue of homelessness.

Referencing the tour location students will be visiting Kath encouraged students to dig deeper when they visited Singapore when it comes to homelessness.

“That doesn’t mean there aren’t issues there.”

“The impression it gives when you are a tourist is it’s clean and shiny,” Ms Snell said. That doesn’t mean there aren’t issues there. I’m Chair of the Board at Orana House and we talk about domestic and family violence the same way, just because you can’t always see it, it doesn’t mean it isn’t there. I am excited about you digging deeper when you get to your location.”


In a question-and-answer section which followed, Kath spoke about the individual and structural determinants of homelessness.

“Find out about community service providers in your area.”

“If you are walking around with blinkers on and not understanding the reasons behind homelessness it is very easy to make judgements on things you know nothing about,” she said. “As an individual read articles, listen to politicians and think about the different models used around housing and homelessness. Find out about community service providers in your area and the work they are doing, or volunteer.”

Other topics discussed included Shelter WA’s ability to shape legislation particularly with overrepresentation of Aboriginal peoples in the homeless population.