Plain Language Awards

Celebrate the stories of our clearest business communicators

Finalist: Best Plain Language Turnaround

Service Delivery Communications, Ministry of Social Development

Ministry of Social Development team members share their success | Danielle Prattley and Jalina Cameron

Document name

Emergency Housing

Judges’ comments

Plain language can change lives. This entry stands as a testament to that fact. Possibly in the past year more than any other, emergency housing has become a more prominent issue. As you noted, most people reading the Emergency Housing webpage will be going through one of the scariest and most difficult times of their lives. This turnaround takes away some of the stress of these people’s journeys.

You consulted different user groups and ran workshops with relevant parties to make important changes to the webpage. You then edited your content so it was much easier to absorb. After the turnaround, readers took more time on the page because they were getting what they needed right there, rather than having to follow up with a phone call. They were far more knowledgeable.

Your turnaround is a great success.

Media statement

We’re very proud to be finalists for Best Plain Language Turnaround in the 2023 Plain Language Awards.

Everyone needs somewhere safe and secure to live, even if it’s only for a short period of time. When people come to the Ministry of Social Development with an urgent need for housing, we support them to find a place to stay.

We know from our clients and frontline staff that people in this situation are often scared, tired, and frustrated. They’re in an extremely vulnerable position and need help urgently.

An integral part of our emergency housing service is making sure people have as much information available as possible. We’ve improved our Emergency Housing web content to ensure that people can make informed decisions and plan their next steps. It gives them back some control over their situation, and increases their trust in us and their confidence in themselves.

We wanted this web content to be very clear about what people need to do. We’re pleased our clients can easily follow the application process and better understand what happens while they’re in emergency housing. This is a big help for them and, importantly, also helps our staff better support them.


Jalina Cameron
Senior Business Advisor
Service Delivery Communications, Ministry of Social Development