HOME Lived Experience Co-design Toolkit and Framework Launch

The HOME (Hear of My Experience) Project comprised of two capacity building and co-design projects with people who have, experienced homelessness and housing insecurity, to develop resources to support the housing and homelessness sector to better engage with people with lived experience.

Watch the full event

Seventeen individuals participated in the project with a range of subject matter experts. Funding was provided by the Department of Finance.

Allan Connolly

The project released two significant pieces of work for the sector, a Lived Experience Engagement Framework, and a Lived Experience Co-Design Toolkit. Both were launched during Homelessness Week 2021.

In remarks about the genesis of the project Michelle Mackenzie the Chief Executive Officer at Shelter said it was the “most challenging, frustrating and rewarding pieces of work I’ve been involved in, and before embarking on this work I wish that we had this framework and kit to assist us to avoid the pitfalls we faced!”.

The Challenges

“We put out an expression of interest for people with lived experience to work with us and were thrilled when through an interview process we had a great group of people to co-design with these resources with us. This project was a huge learning for Shelter WA. Unfortunately despite best intentions, what we didn’t have was the time and space built into the project or our organisation that was needed on the project or a trauma informed approach. We did not understand or anticipate the impact of the work on participants as it unfolded or how trauma would manifest itself in multiple ways on this project.

“It was hard at times, and for this I wish to thank them.”

“Unfortunately, we had set this project up to fail, and this was on us, not the participants, due to our lack of organisational readiness. What has been incredible is the generosity of the HOME participants in not giving up on this project. It was hard at times, and for this I wish to thank them.”

Engagement Framework

Both Trish Owen and Adriana Sowah the authors, presented the Lived Experience Engagement Framework. “I want to acknowledge the humility of Michelle,” Ms Owen said. “Being the CEO of a peak body and actually being able to stand up and say ‘we got it wrong’ … that is the start of real growth.

Trish Owen

“In these documents you have some really good gold in there as we learnt a lot.”

The authors provided a joint overview of the Framework which has been developed to support the housing and homelessness services sector to engage with people with lived experience to inform their policy and practice. Their presentation focused on the principles underpinning engagement and the benefits of engagement for services and for people.

You can view the Framework here.

Co-Design Toolkit

HOME group participant Allan Connolly led the Co-Design Toolkit presentation. It showcases best practice approaches to lived experience engagement across organisational strategy, policy, projects, programs and services. It supports government and non-government housing and homelessness services, as well as people with lived experience, to understand the benefits of engaging and ways to engage.

“We have to take it home, digest it.”

“I urge you to look through these publications,” Allan said. How many times have you been to an event, and you’ve gathered all that information … you go home, put it on the side and never look at it again. We can’t do that. We have to take it home, digest it and look at the small part you can play to make sure the Framework and the Toolkit is implemented into your organisations. We are looking at our peer support groups like the WA Alliance to End Homelessness and Shelter WA to lead by example. Other sectors are probably more advanced and have created opportunities for those people with lived experience to be embedded into their organisations.

“So, the Toolkit is absolutely imperative for us moving forward.”

The Toolkit can only be accessed through an introductory workshop which is facilitated by people with lived experience. This approach provides an opportunity for organisations to hear directly from people who have had experience of the service system and how engagement with people with lived experience can drive value.

Complete an expression of interest form here.


As Allan concluded his presentation a question-and-answer panel followed where people with lived experience and those who have utulised engagement with people with lived experience already in their organisations discussed the benefits of this engagement and the need for the framework and toolkit.

The panel comprised of Margaret King; Community Development Coordinator at the City of South Perth, Natalie Sangalli; General Manager of Community Housing at Housing Choices WA, Mark Slattery; Chief Operations Officer at Ruah, Michelle Mackenzie; CEO Shelter WA, Eugenie Stockmann; Chief Executive Officer at Co-Operation Housing, and Trish Owen, Josh Serafini and Deborah Ralph; Lived Experience Advocates.