We are very sad to announce the passing of AJ, founding member of PIAC’s consumer advisory committee on homelessness, StreetCare.
AJ was a tenacious and committed champion for people experiencing homelessness. Through his involvement with StreetCare, he effectively represented their views to the highest levels of government.
StreetCare began in 2008 as a grass roots movement on the streets of Woolloomooloo, with AJ encouraging friends to join with him in advocating for services to consult and engage with their users. Today, consumer participation and engagement has become standard practice.
PIAC are indebted to AJ for his many years of service and contribution to the StreetCare group and honour his impressive legacy.
In particular, he called for greater investment in crisis accommodation and public housing, initiatives to support young people to break the cycle of homelessnes, and the need for a whole-of-government approach.
AJ was well known within the sector for his sharp wit, down to earth outlook and contagious laughter. AJ was never afraid to tell you, or anyone, for that matter, exactly how it was, but behind a sometimes blunt bedside manner was an incredibly gentle, kind and intelligent man who touched the lives of those around him.
AJ’s advocacy took many forms: he produced an evocative series of photos documenting the experience of sleeping rough in Woolloomooloo and was known for his thoughtful and powerful writing.
Of being seen by passers-by when he was sleeping rough he said: ‘they spit at you with their eyes’.
In August 2017, the Sun Herald published an edited version of AJ’s memoir.
We send our sincerest condolences to his family and friends, as well as the many people who came to know him through his work as an advocate.
He will be sorely missed by his fellow StreetCare members and friends at PIAC.