Women, girls, and gender diverse people with lived experience of homelessness, including 2SLGBTQ+ peoples, are experts in ending homelessness. We know how it feels to be homeless, what hurts about being homeless, and the multiple pathways out of homelessness that reflects our diverse experiences because we have been there and lived it. Our specialized and specific knowledge and voice cannot be replicated, replaced, or subverted by academics, service providers, or allies.
The leadership of diverse women-identified peoples with lived expertise is vital to preventing and ending homelessness. Governments and organizations, including funders, can and must ensure women with lived expertise hold decision-making power in the design, delivery, and evaluation of programs and services that address homelessness for women, girls, and gender diverse and 2SLGBTQ+ peoples. To ensure this happens, dedicated staffing and resources need to be identified for women-identified peoples with lived expertise to lead community engagement initiatives. Intentional spaces and structures for peer-led consultation and feedback also need to be created within governments and organizations to ensure solutions are on track, effective, and have permanent effects.
The Women’s National Housing and Homelessness Network is building an online space to amplify the voices of women-identified people with lived expertise. On this platform, experts will be able to share blogs, analyses, photos, videos, and other resources.