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Advocacy In Human Services Campaign Action Plan

2316 words - 9 pages

This essay will explore a small local tenant groups attempts at an advocacy campaign in which members attempt to lobby the Queensland State government for car space coverage to protect their vehicles. The focus group are all residents of a government housing estate who have been encouraged by their local office to form the Wallace Apartment Tenant Action Group (WATAG) with the belief that tenant participation is the best way for public housing tenants to voice their opinions on issues regarding their housing and community.According the Queensland Department of Housing (2006, p.2) local tenant groups ‘provide a voice in regards to issues which affect them whilst actively empowering tenants participating in the decision making processes and lobbying for improvements to their community’. In the practice of advocacy, empowerment is based on the belief that ‘individuals have strengths to acquire knowledge, become assertive and develop skills (Schneider & Lester, 2001, p.122) therefore groups like WATAG are empowered to actively participate in lobbying for improvements to their community and in influencing the decision making processes which relate to their tenancy. Whilst the Queensland Department of Housing may encourage an interest in local tenant participation, WATAG’s relationship with the government office has so far been minimal. The group have little knowledge of the department’s operations and are apprehensive about their first lobby campaign.Whilst there is some argument as to the correct definition of advocacy, taking on an advocacy role generally means acting on behalf of the community, a group or an individual (Mickelson, cited in Schneider & Lester, 2001, p.62), and is therefore essentially the process of protecting human rights, obtaining or restoring social justice and ‘seeking to change discriminatory or abusive treatment to the vulnerable or disadvantaged’ (Corey, Corey & Callanan, 1998). However WATAG lobbies for and self-represents its own interests in putting forward their case for a better living environment and the small group represent the interests of all tenants who live in Wallace Apartments though a core group of seven (7) members actively advocate on behalf of the other twenty-one tenants due to disability, age, mobility or other factors.In their first advocacy campaign the members of WATAG will lobby the Queensland Department of Housing to pay for, and install, carport style covers over their existing allocated car spaces. The residents have been commended for their conservation of shared gardens and natural surroundings but the undesired daily result of bird and fruit bat droppings is destroying the paintwork on cars and residents are often required to clean vehicles daily. This issue has been a problem for some time and original complaints to the Department of Housing were either ignored or impractical solutions suggested. Tenants are also angry as a similar public housing...

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