Expertise from Lived Experience

It is vital that work concerning the welfare of people experiencing homelessness includes significant input and guidance from those who have lived experience of the issue. They are intimately familiar with many of the issues and hold valuable perspectives about how to tackle them. Additional benefits of establishing advisory groups that consist of people with lived experience of homelessness and/or poverty include: 

  • The voices of people who have experienced homelessness are traditionally missing from the planning and program and policy development process. 
  • People who are marginalized are resourceful and have strengths and assets that must be acknowledged in human service and policymaking. 
  • Policies developed from a middle class mindset for people who have their basic needs met are not necessarily effective for people experiencing poverty or homelessness. 
  • People with lived experience can offer local solutions and are aware of what would work in their community. 
  • Those who experience homelessness can feel powerless and are sometimes not taken seriously by those in society who hold power – advisory groups can provide a starting point for turning those dynamics around and empowering people. 
  • Advisory groups of people with lived experience of homelessness can provide strength to a cause. Advisory groups provide a forum for peers to interact, reducing isolation and supporting personal growth and leadership development opportunities.1

Learn more about expertise from lived experience in:

United Kingdom, Australia, Canada, Zimbabwe, United States, Mexico, South Africa, Brazil, Bangladesh