News & Events


August 5, 2019

Wooden blocks each with a different word describing what home means to the 450 residents living in the Old Colonists’ Association of Victoria’s four retirement villages will be placed on the steps of Parliament House on Monday 5 August.

The placement marks the start of Homelessness Week. The words include safe, comfort, happy, and relieved, each a reflection from residents many of whom were either homeless or vulnerably housed before entering an Old Colonists’ Association of Victoria village.

OCAV was founded 150 years ago by Parliamentarian George Coppin and other wealthy colonists to house and care for older Victorians in need.

“This is our symbolic gesture to draw attention to the powerful vision that our founder had 150 years ago, and little has changed. We still need safe, affordable housing for older Victorians,” CEO Phillip Wohlers said.

“It is appropriate to return to Parliament, which has played such a role in our past, to place these 450 wooden blocks to raise awareness about homelessness in Victoria,” Mr Wohlers said.

“If you have a home, a front door which you can open and close when you wish, you are safe. That is what our founders felt was crucial for old colonists then, and that remains true today,” he said.

According to the UN, the definition of homelessness is not ‘rooflessness.’ A home means security, privacy, stability and being able to control your own space.

According to the 2018 Census, 116,000 people were experiencing homelessness in Australia on Census night. There has been a 23% increase in Victorians aged 55 plus experiencing homelessness. Twenty per cent of Australia’s homeless population lives in Victoria.

The blocks have been made by the Men’s Shed group at Leith Park, one of the OCAV villages

The apartments are beautiful, with lovely, open and bright rooms, and a balcony for growing plants in pots. I am starting to make my apartment into a home.

– Catherine, Leith Park

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