Juno’s Peer Educators are older women with lived experience of housing stress or homelessness who have been facilitating interactive workshops throughout the northern suburbs of Melbourne in the areas of housing, money and relationships.
The peer education model, recently adopted by Juno, empowers and enables peer educators to share their experiences with a wider audience, whilst raising awareness of the factors that put older women at risk of homelessness and the support and resources available to mitigate that risk.
The workshops – available both in-person and online – focus on practical information on options, planning ahead and supports available to reduce the risk of housing and financial stress and crisis later in life, and an overview of what support is available and your rights when facing a relationship breakdown.
Juno’s trained Peer Educators are women who have been there and are helping women build their skills, knowledge and connections through these free community workshops.
We spoke to Juno peer educators, Leanne and Helen, about how they got involved and why they believe the education sessions are important for reducing the risk of homelessness amongst older women – the fastest growing cohort of people at risk of homelessness in Australia.
Why did you become a Peer Educator?
As a woman with lived experience of homelessness, I struggled to get the support I needed as it wasn’t always forthcoming. I needed to do a lot of the work myself, which added to my stress levels. I want to make sure women like me don’t have to go through this, and they’re not alone. – Leanne
To share my experience and empower others on their journey so that they can achieve their goals with support and understanding. – Helen
What does your role involve?
As a peer educator, I meet with women who are 50 years and older and provide them with information that supports their needs concerning housing, money and relationships. I answer questions they may have and point them in the right direction to get that support. – Leanne
What do you like about working for Juno?
Working with Juno has helped me gain more confidence and encouraged me to speak up. I love that I can now support other women professionally and Juno recognises my contributions. Juno has a strong support base for all women. – Leanne
The support and training from Juno gave me confidence in knowing that I can deliver the information whilst providing a safe place for women attending. The workshops allow older women to share their insights and ask any questions to ensure they gain the information and resources needed to take the next step for themselves. – Helen
Why is the work important?
The work is important because it shows women that they are not alone and provides them with the critical information they need to get back on track. In our work, we’re also highlighting the need for change and specifically more low-income housing for women experiencing homelessness and family violence. – Leanne
Women over 50 are at the most risk of being without a home as they often experience financial insecurity due to a number of factors, including dealing with the impacts of job insecurity, supporting children, health issues or relationship issues. I can share my experience to show what is possible by providing a general overview of what services and organisations are available to support them whilst being empowered through knowledge of their rights from services experienced in the issues they are dealing with. – Helen
You can register for any of Juno’s upcoming workshops here
These workshops are proudly supported by Darebin City Council’s Community Grants Program, Bennelong Foundation, The Victorian Women’s Trust and #GoKindly.