Port Macquarie-Hastings Homelessness Committee
Homelessness Week 2021, August 1st To 7th, 2021
Homelessness has become a part of the fabric of cities, and in spite of it staring straight at us, we have not found an effective way to tackle the situation. While homelessness is a complex issue that cannot be tackled with an easy one-size-fits-all solution, there is still much that can be done to help ease the situation and condition of the homeless.
The Port Macquarie-Hastings Homeless Committee is here for this very purpose and it has been organising a series of events to raise funds and build awareness of the situation of homelessness in the Hastings area. Housing shortages have increased over the past few years and homelessness is the worrying consequence of this.
The Port Macquarie-Hastings Homeless Committee organises a Homelessness Week every year and this year the event takes place from AUGUST 1ST TO 7TH (#hastingshomeless21).
With homelessness on the rise across the Hastings, three in every four people using homelessness services are women and children. Many of them are fleeing family violence.
Data source : Australian Bureau of Statistics, 2013, Census of Population and Housing: Basic Community Profile, 2011, cat no. 2001.0, ABS, Canberra.
Jason Bodger's Story
Radio personality Jason Bodger (Bodge) is the Ambassador for Hastings Homelessness. Jason was recognised by the Hon. Leslie Williams for his role in raising awareness on the difficulties our homeless face living on the streets by sharing his personal story of hardship and resilience. Bodge recalled his destitution as a young 16 year old in Adelaide, noting the shame, anguish and anxiety he was facing then.
A Safe Space for the Homeless
The main aim of the Port Macquarie-Hastings Homeless Committee is to raise money to provide lockers in Port Macquarie for rough sleepers in the Hastings. Its long-term goal is to create a ‘drop-in centre’ in Port Macquarie. This will be a place where people without a home can come and take a shower and wash their clothes. What many take for granted as a norm, being cleaning and doing the laundry can be a luxury that can help to lift one's mood, give some dignity to life and simply feel like a human. This "drop-in centre" will also have services and facilities such as a lounge room for the homeless to safely be in and have access to TV to watch a midday movie or just sit and connect with others.
Funds from the Port Macquarie-Hastings Homeless Committee are also being used to supply weekly breakfasts at Kooloonbung Creek. Not having a home is gruelling on the spirits - to have a place to go to for some warm food to start the day brings that bit of hope to those who have to survive in the streets.
Port Macquarie-Hastings Homeless Committee will be organising a Homelessness Awareness Festival to take place on the Port Macquarie Town Green, on Wednesday August 4th 2021 from 10 am to 2 pm. The event will showcase services and provide information on what the committee does. There will also be games, food and music at the event.
Campaigning for the Homeless
The Port Macquarie-Hastings Homeless Committee is also on its second year of running its Surf@HomeCampaign to raise money for the rough sleepers in the area. This year, people are asked to commit to sleeping on their couches for one night only between August 1st and 7th during National Homelessness Week.
Family and friends can donate via the Go Fund Me page or cash money which can be dropped off at New Horizons in Port Macquarie. The Go Fund Me page will be left open for the whole awareness week for people to donate.
Another campaign this year is inviting the community to “Give a Gift Card” of any sort. It can be a $10 Coles Card, $5 iTunes Care, etc. Gift cards can be dropped off at any Lifeline Shop or New Horizons. Service providers will then distribute them to the homeless.
The Port Macquarie-Hastings Homeless Committee aims to find enduring solutions for those who are at risk of, or already experiencing, homelessness. Their events are designed to raise awareness of the issue in the community while providing a collection point for life-saving goods and donations to improve the situation of those who experience homelessness.
Following Up on the Homeless
The Port Macquarie-Hastings Homeless Committee also takes a very proactive approach and gets right into the heart of homelessness by engaging with the homeless, providing them with basic necessities and listening to their experiences.
They have a travelling roadshow during Homelessness Week AUGUST 1ST TO 7TH where they stop at various points across the Hastings, Wauchope, Laurieton, Lake Cathie and Port Macquarie.
This is where the committee do their real magic by providing haircuts, food, health van, counselling and other support services.
Among those taking part in hosting the events are New Horizons, Lifeline Mid Coast, Community Housing Ltd, Hastings Neighbourhood Services, YP Space, Mid North Coast Legal Centre, Neami National, The Hope Shop, Port Macquarie Clinic 33, NSW Health, NSW Police, Life without Barriers.
Everyone Can Help
The Port Macquarie-Hastings Homelessness Committee is not alone in making a difference to the lives of the homeless. The Brothers In Need from Sydney were invited to attend a BBQ for rough sleepers at Kooloonbung Creek on April 29th. The Brothers In Need group cooked up delicious sausages and distributed food and drinks to share with vulnerable people in the Hastings community.
The Brothers in Need have come to the area before during times of community recovery. They are a not-for-profit organisation made up of community volunteer workers who strive to make a difference. Their mission is to assist those who are experiencing poverty and homelessness with care, dignity and respect, supporting the poor and needy in the community, visiting the sick and elderly and providing nutritious meals for the less fortunate.
At the end of the day, knowing that there is something we can all do to make a difference, no matter how small, is a first step to helping to change the situation of the homeless. It starts with one person, and one single act. There are many who realise how dire the situation is but do not know where to start to help. This is where the Port Macquarie-Hastings Homelessness Committee can guide people to doing what is most necessary and relevant to help the homeless.
For more details, including for the Mid North Coast, see the attached Homelessness Australia fact sheet and click here.
Participants and Contacts
Tracey Rogerson, New Horizons, (02) 6588 8100, firstname.lastname@example.org
Lisa Willows, Lifeline Mid Coast, (02) 6581 2800, email@example.com
Julie Trowbridge, Port Macquarie Neighbourhood Centre, (02) 6583 8044, firstname.lastname@example.org
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