What is advocacy?
Advocacy involves recognising, promoting and defending the rights, wellbeing and interests of people who are chronically disadvantaged or vulnerable.
Anyone can be an advocate. It could be for a person, a group of people, a cause or a policy.
When an organisation or group of organisations speak up for those who have common issues or needs, this is called systemic advocacy. Systemic advocacy is about influencing and changing the system – through legislation, policy and practices – in ways that will benefit vulnerable and disadvantaged people as a group within society.
By engaging in systemic advocacy, Sacred Heart Mission encourage changes to the law, government and service policies and community attitudes. It also means advocating against changes to laws that are likely to cause harm to our community.
Ways we advocate
There are many ways to be an advocate – here are some of the main ways Sacred Heart Mission advocates on behalf of our community:
- Participating in research and evaluation – to measure the impact of our services and identify where there are gaps.
- Working collaboratively with other like-minded organisations and peak bodies, sharing knowledge and working towards joint goals.
- Raising public awareness of key issues – signing and sharing petitions, holding events.
- Writing directly to the media or politicians
- Contributing to Victorian and Commonwealth inquiries, such as Royal Commissions.
Key advocacy areas
Sacred Heart Mission focuses on key issues that are critical to our client cohort.
1. Access and eligibility (for people experiencing profound exclusion and disadvantage)
The people who access Sacred Heart Mission often encounter multiple barriers to accessing services, particularly if they have complex needs and are highly vulnerable. Sacred Heart Mission is dedicated to addressing the underlying causes of disadvantage. Key topics we focus on are long-term and chronic homelessness, access to the National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS) and ageing and homelessness.
2. Affordable, safe, accessible, and secure housing
In November 2020, the Victorian Government announced a record $5.3 billion investment in social housing, which will significantly boost the housing supply in Victoria. The advocacy on social housing does not stop here – and is even more vital in our recovery from the Covid-19 pandemic.
We are campaigning to ensure social housing supply is delivered, and that what is provided is targeted, diverse and of high quality, and specific housing is available for people with complex needs. We will continue to advocate to the Commonwealth for greater investment nationally in social and affordable housing, and to replicate our award-winning Journey to Social Inclusion (J2SI) program and the Evaluation & Learning Centre (ELC).
How to get involved
- Get a quick overview over what you can do as an ally.
- Get a better understanding of the causes and solutions of homelessness and social disadvantage by reading our policy submissions.
- Join our free email series and develop your personal toolbox of ally actions.
- Follow us on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and LinkedIn for advocacy news.
- Media release
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Learn more about homelessness and how we can solve it together in our monthly newsletter, Heartbeat