Lead facilitators, guest speakers and sponsors

The Australian Alliance to End Homelessness wishes to acknowledge and sincerely thank our speakers for partnering with us and whose generosity and support has contributed to the realization of the Leadership Academy on Ending Homelessness 2023.

Lead Facilitator
Iain De Jong is a lifelong learner when it comes to homelessness and is relentless in his pursuit to end homelessness. Iain is the President and CEO of OrgCode Consulting Inc.and the author of the The Book on Ending Homelessness. Involved in homelessness since the 1990s, Iain has held a series of positions throughout his career spanning the non-profit, public, and private sectors.

He is also a former part-time faculty member in the Graduate Planning Programme at York University. A frequent keynote speaker, conference presenter and media commentator on homelessness, Iain is a thought leader in making homelessness rare, brief and non-recurring. Iain is an advisor to various orders of government throughout Canada and the United States, supports the work of the National Alliance to End Homelessness, Canadian Alliance to End Homelessness, and the Australian Alliance to End Homelessness, and provides consultation and advisory services to dozens of non-profit organisations and governments annually.

In 2015, Iain started the Leadership Academy on Ending Homelessness and has worked with over 800 leaders that share the desire to end homelessness. Much of Iain’s work these days focuses on strategic planning for community effectiveness in responding to homelessness, integrating harm reduction practices in supportive housing, ensuring supports to people exiting homelessness are effectively delivered, improving emergency accommodation to be housing-focused, and ensuring street outreach services to rough sleepers and encampments are focused on housing solutions.

Academy MC
Liv Carusi has worked in the homelessness and community housing sector for over 25 years. She has experience in direct service delivery, including street outreach work, policy reform and advocacy, human rights and senior project management. Liv has also held a range of senior management roles and previously worked as the National General Manager of Homelessness with The Salvation Army and Strategic Advisor, Project Lead for the Toward Home Alliance.

In April 2023, she was appointed in the position of Director, Engagement and Improvement at the South Australian Alliance to End Homelessness, an organisation committed to collaborating with individuals and organisations to achieve the vision of ending homelessness in South Australia. In addition to her professional experience, she holds qualifications in sociology, political science, public policy, management, urban research and theology, specialising in social justice.

Welcome to Country

Deb Buckskin is Kaurna/Narungga/Wirangu woman. As the Senior Advisor of Aboriginal Services at Baptist Care SA, Deb works to support the strategic and operational governance of Culturally Responsive service delivery acorss the organisation.

She is an Executive Board member of Kura Yerlo and Co-Convenor of the South Australian Aboriginal Community Controlled Organisation Network. (SAACCON) Deb is a National Director for the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Housing Authority (NATSIHA) and is a Lung Foundation advocate for Lung Foundation Australia.
Opening Speaker
Nat Cook MP is the South Australian Minister for Human Services and has been an elected Member of Parliament since 2014 (Member for Fisher 2014 – 2018, Member for Hurtle Vale 2018 – current). She was Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister for Housing and Urban Development in the previous Labor government.

Nat is a lifetime local of Adelaide’s southern suburbs, a fierce advocate for her local constituents and a dedicated mum.

Nat’s passions lie in health and disability care, ending homelessness, and making our families and communities fairer and safer places in which to live.

Having spent nearly 30 years as a Registered Nurse in specialty areas such as intensive care and brain injury rehabilitation, Nat is honoured to hold the title of Adjunct Associate Professor with the School of Nursing and Midwifery, University of South Australia.

After losing their son Sam to a violent and unprovoked one-punch assault in 2008, Nat and husband Neil formed the Sammy D Foundation to educate youth about the consequences of violence.

On becoming the Minister in 2022, Nat committed to a proactive and collaborative approach to delivering improved policy and services for marginalised South Australians.

Guest Speaker
Rohan Feegrade is the forward-thinking CEO leading 50+ year old community services organisation, Lutheran Care, into an innovative and responsive future. He is proudly people focused, wearing his heart on his sleeve for the vulnerable and disadvantaged within our communities.

Unafraid to challenge convention as lead agent CEO and inaugural chairperson for the Alliance, Rohan played a leading role in bringing together the key service agencies to form the Toward Home Alliance, as part of bold reforms of the SA homelessness system. He believes with a whole of system approach including government, the community and corporate Australia, homelessness is solvable.

Guest Speaker
As Chief Executive Officer of Ruah Community Services, Debra Zanella is a passionate advocate for practical and decisive action to disrupt cycles of social disadvantage, with innovative solutions.

With more than three decades experience in the health and community services, Debra has a strong vision and a strategic approach to ending areas of significant injustice in our community – homelessness, family and domestic violence and mental health matters – and believes it will take a collaborative effort by all levels of Government, the community services sector, corporate sector, and the wider community to drive the support and action needed.

Debra is passionate about driving innovation in service delivery and policy reform in the community services sector. Ruah is particularly proud of our wrap-around approach to providing services, and believe this bold approach is one way we can effect systems change more broadly.

Ruah offers dedicated assistance in the areas of mental health, legal advice and representation, domestic violence, homelessness, and we guide our clients in their journey in a holistic way, assisting them to gain access to the services they need both inside and outside of Ruah.

Guest Speaker and Leadership Dinner Co-Host
Shane Austin is an experienced leader in the nonprofit sector; fulfilling senior management, executive and governance roles over the past 25 years both internationally and locally. He is driven by the desire to see positive social change.

Appointed CEO of Baptist Care SA in January 2022, Shane previously led The Salvation Army Australia (VIC) homelessness portfolio. Prior to this, Shane was the CEO of St Kilda Community Housing Ltd. He has held key advisory roles as a member of ministerial advising councils.

Shane has held executive roles in the philanthropic sector over a period of a decade, where he was engaged in cross-sector funding and systems change He is actively involved in governance, holding key directorships in education, housing, community development, homelessness, and state peak organisations.

He holds tertiary qualifications in applied science, business law, theology, and is a member of the Australian Institute of Company Directors.
Guest Speaker

David Pearson recognises that ending homelessness is possible and that homelessness is not normal or something we should accept. He has worked towards this goal in a range of roles in the community, government, university and philanthropic sectors, including currently as the CEO of the Australian Alliance to End Homelessness.

Before this he helped lead the establishment of the Adelaide Zero Project, a collective impact initiative of over 45 organisations all working together to end street homelessness in Adelaide’s inner city.

David was a 2020 Kenneth Myer Innovation Fellow, a 2021 Churchill Fellow and is a Senior Advisor for the Institute of Global Homelessness (IGH). In 2019 David was recognised as one of the top 40 Under 40 leaders in South Australia.

Prior to this David was the Senior Policy Adviser to several South Australian Premiers and Commonwealth Government Ministers in a range of portfolio areas.

The Australian Alliance to End Homelessness wishes to acknowledge and sincerely thank our sponsors for partnering with us and whose generosity and support has contributed to the realisation of the Leadership Academy on Ending Homelessness 2023.

Principal Sponsor
Innovative, inclusive and compassionate: for more than half a century Lutheran Care has been a vocal supporter of social justice and local community. Its programs and services offer immediate support and dignity to people in crisis as well as information, strategies and connections to empower people to make positive changes in their own lives for the long term.

Founded in 1969 right here in South Australia by a group of pioneering Lutheran women, Lutheran Care has grown into a modern and dynamic organisation committed to working with people from all walks of life. Its mission is to change lives and build communities across South Australia and Central Australia through programs such as emergency relief, financial and personal counselling, parenting education and support groups, Foster Care services, Disability services and the Toward Home Alliance homelessness services.

Major Sponsor
Baptist Care SA has been expressing God’s love and compassion for people, especially those at risk or marginalised, since 1913.

Our vision to be a leading, life transforming organisation, founded in a faith community engaged in client focused care, is motivated by Christ’s servant heart.

We are guided by our values of integrity, compassion, empowerment and innovation to fulfil our purpose of finding ways to make lives better.
Major Sponsor
Micah Projects is a not-for-profit organisation committed to providing services and opportunities in the community to create justice and respond to injustice.

We engage with people experiencing adversity due to poverty, homelessness, mental illness, domestic violence, disability and all forms of discrimination.

Micah Projects works to break down barriers that exclude people from housing, healthcare, employment, meaningful connections, and to give people a voice. We assist and support each individual or family including children, to resolve crisis, break social isolation, have a home, access health and community services, and build community.

Partner Sponsor
Ruah Community Services has been supporting and empowering vulnerable and disadvantaged people to create positive change in their lives for more than 60 years – leading innovation and delivering tailored, wrap-around support for people experiencing homelessness, family and domestic violence, mental health challenges and, as a result, needing legal advice and support.
Partner Sponsor
St Patrick’s Community Support Centre (St Pat’s) is a not-for-profit specialist homelessness support service and community housing provider which has been working side-by-side with vulnerable people in the south metropolitan region of Perth for more than 50 years.

To achieve our mission to end chronic homelessness we work in partnership with government and human services agencies, businesses, and the broader community to provide a range of high-quality services delivered to break the cycle of poverty and disadvantage, including housing, health and dental care, crisis intervention and emergency relief, social inclusion and specialist support services.

Our collaborative, integrated and person-centric approach allows us to be there for people at every stage of their journey out of homelessness..
Lived Experience Sponsor
Sonder is an inclusive, not-for-profit organisation that has been providing better quality health and support services to the South Australian community since 1993.

The organisation supports thousands of people each year to access multiple services that address their needs, delivered from a range of centres located across SA. Sonder focuses on providing support across seven key domains – mental health, homelessness, Aboriginal health, alcohol and/or other drugs, employment, community health and disability.

Lived Experience Sponsor
Hutt St Centre is a place of connection and support, where people facing homelessness are empowered to rebuild their lives, rediscover their identities and reconnect with those who love them. We walk alongside people on their journey toward homefulness—a word we use to describe the feeling of safety, control and confidence that comes with having a place to call home.

When people walk through our doors we help fulfil their immediate needs, like a shower, a meal, and a charged phone, while our 20+ visiting services provide support ranging from medical check-ups to financial counselling. And with a focus on the future, we connect people with housing, education and employment opportunities to build the skills and confidence to change their circumstances for good.

Lived Experience Sponsor
The Wyatt Trust has provided support to South Australians experiencing poverty for more than 135 years. We challenge the beliefs that perpetuate inequality because we believe every South Australian deserves a life free from poverty and disadvantage. By listening, learning, building our knowledge and working in partnership, we seek to achieve systemic change and the eradication of poverty and inequality.

Event Sponsor
The Centre for Social Impact at Flinders University sits within the national CSI network and shares a vision and capacity with CSI UWA, CSI UNSW and CSI Swinburne within the University of Western Australia, the University of New South Wales and Swinburne University respectively. Our common vision is of a world where everyone can thrive and grow their capabilities, no matter their circumstances. Working with government, business and the social purpose sectors, we enable systems change and lasting social impact for people and communities. We do this through transformational education and research, engaging within and across different sectors.