Leading Practitioner Award Nominee
Kerri-Anne Williams from Vincentian House, St Vincent de Paul Society NSW Support Services
Please give your reasons for nominating this person.
Kerri-Anne Williams is a passionate champion for supporting families and women experiencing homelessness to transform their lives, and for using trauma-informed care to do so. This has been so in all her work with the St Vincent de Paul Society NSW since 2009, and more intensively in her role as Accommodation Manager of two homelessness services since 2015: Vincentian House (supporting families and women, in inner Sydney); and Our Lady of the Way (supporting older women leaving violence, in Western Sydney). Kerri-Anne’s dedication to embedding trauma-informed care in service delivery and staff support at these services and within broader service systems is inspiring.
Kerri-Anne’s leadership and insight on trauma-informed care is reflected in her contribution to the SHS sector more broadly, and exemplified by her contribution to the Sydney Women’s Homeless Alliance (SWHA). Since 2017, she has been co-facilitator of a SWHA community of practice on implementing trauma-informed practice within services. At the Homelessness NSW conference in 2017, Kerri-Anne co-presented a talk on trauma-informed care, and she will be doing so again at the 2018 conference.
A strategic thinker, Kerri-Anne sees great value in raising awareness around homelessness beyond the sector, and the complex factors that contribute to it. For example, she featured in a 2017 ABC documentary, ‘Keeping Australia Safe’, that looked at how Our Lady of the Way supports older women leaving violence.
As a manager, Kerri-Anne leads by example in her commitment to supporting families and women who are in crisis to achieve long-term solutions—always framed by high ethical standards and empathy. Bringing out staff strengths, she encourages teamwork, continual improvement, and reflection on the how and the why of this incredibly challenging work.
For these reasons, Kerri-Anne Williams deserves to be recognised as a ‘leading practitioner’ in the SHS Sector Good Practice Awards of 2018.
What outcomes were delivered as a result of this person?
Through Kerri-Anne’s varied roles at the St Vincent de Paul Society NSW but particularly at Vincentian House, her commitment to embedding trauma-informed responses in homelessness service delivery is reflected in key findings from three evaluations of the work of Vincentian House. The ‘Evaluation Report: Vincentian House Temporary Accommodation Project’ (FACS, 2013) found that 97% of residents reported that they felt safe while staying in temporary accommodation at Vincentian House. ‘The Vincentian House Trauma Informed Care Project: An Exploration of Trauma Informed Care in a Women’s Crisis Homeless Setting’ (Sage Saegenschnitter and Jay Gleeson, 2014) found that 93% of the women exited into accommodation that met their case plan goals, following the implementation of a trauma-informed approach to service delivery. The ‘KEEP (Kids Engaged in Education Program) Program Review’ (Connected Self, 2015) demonstrated Vincentian House’s commitment to ensuring that children feel safe, and that their voices are heard.
Katie Young, Client Service Manager, WAGEC, & Chair of Sydney Women’s Homeless Alliance (SWHA)
As chair of the Sydney Women’s Homeless Alliance (SWHA), I have seen first-hand Kerri-Anne William’s dedication to achieving lasting outcomes in our work with women and families experiencing homelessness. In Kerri-Anne’s contribution to SWHA and in particular, its community of practice on implementing trauma-informed care in services, she is a highly insightful advocate for embedding trauma-informed care in how we support women and families to achieve changes in their lives and to help make changes in service delivery and broader systems. Kerri-Anne prizes working collaboratively, and sharing with and learning from peers—as shown by her respectful and inclusive co-facilitation during the community of practice sessions. Kerri-Anne is always asking, ‘How can we do this better?’, and her ability to articulate both the detail and the bigger picture of homelessness service delivery to contribute to improvements in how we work is impressive. Social justice frames how Kerri-Anne sees the work of SHS service sector, and this guides her practice. I highly commend Kerri-Anne Williams for a ‘leading practitioner’ SHS Sector Good Practice Award.