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The involvement of people with lived experience is broadly recognised as beneficial, and possibly essential, to effective service and policy planning. However, in the field of homelessness service delivery, this has not been thoroughly researched.
To build a greater understanding of participation activities and identify opportunities for lived experience contributions in addressing homelessness, this study investigates the representations of consumer participation by a homelessness service network in Victoria over 10 years (2011–2020).
This study found that the homelessness services appear to have actively aspired to meaningful service user participation however tensions for policy and practice remain. These include whether lived experience contributions are valued as “experience” or “expertise”; whether participation is available for those with “living” (current) or “lived” (past) experience; and whether feedback can translate into influence, affecting services and policy change.