13.8 C
Byron Shire
September 27, 2021

Homeless at greater risk across Byron shire

Latest News

New venues of concern in Ballina

The Northern NSW Local Health District has been notified of a number of new venues of concern associated with a confirmed case of COVID-19.

Other News

Why are there so many vaccinated people in hospital?

It may be confronting to hear there are more vaccinated people than unvaccinated people in hospital – but it’s actually a good thing.

Byron Bay beach party end in PINS and a charge for biting

Police say a woman has been charged and four Penalty Infringement Notices (PINs) issued following a beach party in the Byron Bay area overnight.

Tweed River House

S Haslam I took a couple of pics at my pre-opening meal last week at Tweed River House, due to...

Greed

I write to express my concern with greedy landlords who seem to go by the sandpit mantra ‘they did...

Getting annoyed with NSW Farmers naming ‘rights’

The Annoying Vegan has become more annoyed today with what they see as the NSW Farmers getting on their high horse about the use of the words ‘meat’ and ‘milk’.

Pizzaholic love

Over the past 18 years at Earth ‘n’ Sea Pizza, Denise and David have always appreciated the support from...

No Fixed Abode gives a voice and face to the many homeless people in Byron Shire. Photo supplied.
No Fixed Abode gives a voice and face to the many homeless people in Byron Shire. Photo supplied.

Community agencies have highlighted the desperate plight of homeless people in Byron Shire.

‘We’ve seen a disturbing increase in people sleeping in their cars – a situation that has been exacerbated by the recent flood where people lost their vehicle and/or home and all their possessions including identification,’ said Julie Williams from the Mullumbimby and District Neighbourhood Centre (MDNC).

‘There is an increase in single women and women with children sleeping in cars or couch surfing, at times as a result of domestic violence.’

This was confirmed by Paul Spooner from the Byron Community Centre, who highlighted that there are also a lot of long-term homeless people sleeping rough.

‘Some people have been sleeping rough for 15 years and as people age they have increasing health needs – it is a very challenging path.’

The community centres in Mullumbimby and Byron provide a range of services to people who are struggling with making ends meet, including breakfasts and lunches serving between 50 and 100 meals a day.

Single mothers struggle to find affordable housing

‘At the neighbourhood centre people can access a mix of services and supports,’ continued Julie.

‘They can get a community meal, showers, community support, emergency relief, Staying Home Leaving Violence, Brighter Futures, financial counsellor, information and referral. The community support worker assists with material aid, assistance with housing applications (both emergency and social housing).

‘Both Community Support and Staying Home Leaving Violence will work with people who are at risk of homelessness owing to poverty, housing stress, domestic violence, non-compliant housing risks, mental health issues and so on.’

For people who are looking to get some food to cook a meal they can pick up free food-relief bags every Thursday 9–11am at The Hub Baptist Church, Ocean Shores.

‘We normally see anywhere from four to 16 people coming in each week. Some are regulars but most weeks we see new faces from all over the Shire,’ said volunteer Nighean O’Brien.

‘A lot of people are really struggling with housing affordability. It’s common that they have very little, if any, money left after they pay rent and bills for food and clothing. We’ve seen a number of men around the 30–40-year age mark living either in their cars in carparks or in tents up in the bush.

‘Single mums with kids are really struggling to pay $500 a week just to house their families. Many are struck down by illness, some related to the recent floods, and are unable to work.’

The face of homelessness

Byron Community Centre and Byron Writers Festival have come together to create a book titled No Fixed Abode to give a voice and a face to the many homeless people who struggle to find housing, food and stability. It will be launched at the Byron Writers Festival on Saturday August 5.

As well as shining a light on the experience of the homeless, all profit from sales of the book will go towards building services for the homeless community. The book is a not-for-profit project that has been made possible by contributors volunteering their professional skills, and through the support of the Byron Community Centre, Byron Writers Festival and private donors.

See more here. The book will be available for sale at the Community Centre, and can be pre-ordered via [email protected] or QBD Books qbd.com.au.

Mr Spooner said, ‘There are plenty of opportunities to help. ‘You can provide financial support to existing programs or volunteer your time through the community centre and programs like the homeless breakfast and Liberation Larder.’

There is currently an acute need for transition housing in the Shire and issues around where people sleep in wet weather. With four to six major wet-weather events a year the question is where do the people who are sleeping rough go. What facilities could be provided to help people make it through these periods?

And when you see homeless people on the street?

‘My approach,’ said Julie, ‘is just be a good human. No-one should be treated as though they don’t exist or aren’t important.

‘A smile, a little eye contact, a little human acknowledgement.’


Support The Echo

Keeping the community together and the community voice loud and clear is what The Echo is about. More than ever we need your help to keep this voice alive and thriving in the community.

Like all businesses we are struggling to keep food on the table of all our local and hard working journalists, artists, sales, delivery and drudges who keep the news coming out to you both in the newspaper and online. If you can spare a few dollars a week – or maybe more – we would appreciate all the support you are able to give to keep the voice of independent, local journalism alive.

LEAVE A REPLY

Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here

Byron Bay beach party end in PINS and a charge for biting

Police say a woman has been charged and four Penalty Infringement Notices (PINs) issued following a beach party in the Byron Bay area overnight.

Fundraising for koala signs for Bangalow

As the koala mating season has started, Bangalow Koalas has set up fundraising to create incorporate more koala road signs. Bangalow Koalas, who keep a watch...

Nuclear Submarines – just a foot in the door

In the next few months we will hear a lot about how superior nuclear-powered submarines are. Vice Admiral Mike Noonan is even claiming superior stealth characteristics – which is simply not true. Yes, they tend to be faster. This is great if you want to go thousands of kilometres in a matter of days. But they are also much more expensive.

Compost back on Lismore’s gardening menu

Lismore City Council says that their BIOCycle Compost is again on sale from the Lismore Recycling & Recovery Centre and Nimbin Transfer Station, after a two-year break.