News & Events

What home means to us

June 10, 2019

What home means to us is an important question that is being discussed across all OCAV villages in the lead up to Homelessness Week in the first week of August.

Residents will be putting their one word answer onto a wooden block, which will be placed on the steps of Parliament House on Monday 5 August.

The blocks have been made by Barry Lay and the Men’s Shed group at Leith Park.

“This is our symbolic gesture to draw attention to the powerful vision that our founders had 150 years ago – to house and care for older Victorians,” CEO Phillip Wohlers said.

OCAV was founded by Parliamentarian George Coppin. Rushall Park, the first village in North Fitzroy was developed with a gift of land from the Government of the day and has its own Act of Parliament.

“It is appropriate to return to Parliament, which has played such a role in our past, to place 450 wooden blocks – each with its own message about home – to raise awareness about homelessness in Victoria,” Mr Wohlers said.

Mr Wohlers’ word is simple: “safe.”

“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.

In 2019, over half of all OCAV residents had been vulnerably housed before coming into a village.

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.

Caption: Braeside park residents Mary Tasker and May Hedin with their ‘home’ wooden blocks.

“Our home has always been a place where family and friends are welcome.  Our cottage at Rushall Park is no different and the community of friends here is important to us and that’s why their work is part of my art box,” Jennifer Barden said.

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