Posted by  GeoffBrown —May 20, 2012
Filed in Community & Belonging, Facilitation

As the World Indigenous Housing Conference fast approaches, I have been reflecting on what housing means in my own context.

For me and my family, home is our sanctuary. It’s a place of safety and a retreat from the world around us. It’s a place of rest and recharge. A space where we can craft and express our own culture and passions. At home, we host others and share food, tell stories and dream about the future.

Our home is connected in community. Our relationships with other families allow us to thrive and respond to unexpected events. When individual families are in need of support, the community network activates. A simple example of this in our small, coastal village is the Baby Meal Roster. Whenever a family arrives home with a newborn baby, hot meals are delivered daily for 2 weeks. It’s a beautiful thing.
Home has a place in our heart. When away working, or even on holiday, I long to be back in my own bed, sit in our garden and bump into friends at the Food Store. I often hear this from our boys when away … “I just want to go home daddy, I miss my friends.”
In our context, our physical house is a place “we own”. Many choose and some are forced to rent a house where ownership resides elsewhere. But, I don’t believe that a sense of being home is dependent on ownership of bricks and mortar. Being home in community is a powerful and nurturing force. We all need to belong and feel a part of something bigger than ourselves. A community of people that belongs also owns. Even though no single person or group of people own Aireys Inlet – like a person owns a house – we invest energy and commitment in shaping a collective future where our community thrives. We co-create a place where we belong, where we are happy, secure and resilient. This investment in shaping the future makes all of us owners.
The World Cafe on Indigenous Housing
I am excited to be part of the design and facilitation team responsible for hosting dialogue between delegates. I will be working with friends and colleagues, Chris Corrigan (Bowen Island, Canada) and Steven Wright (Seattle, US).  Here is a description of our sessions:

At this year’s World Indigenous Housing Forum, we will be hosting three sessions of dialogue aimed at looking at the role that housing plays in the promotion of healthy and prosperous indigenous communities.  We will be using a process called “The World Cafe” in which small group conversations produce diverse ideas, and in which we can put our collective intelligence to work.


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