Homelessness Week is an annual event to raise awareness of people experiencing homelessness and the issues these people face. It is held in the first full week of August each year.
There are about 105,237 people homeless in Australia.
Events highlighting homelessness will be held across the country this week and Social Futures, a community-based not-for-profit organisation, has some special things in store to mark Homelessness Week including Homeless Connect.
Homelessness Connect is a day of community, compassion and practical support for people in our community who are homeless. Events will be held in Lismore on Tuesday at the Winsome Hotel and in Casino on Wednesday.
‘It’s a day of celebration and giving back,’ says Connecting Home manager Lance Schema. ‘There is such a great demand for services like ours in the region. So many people in our community are doing it tough and events like the March flood and cold winter nights just compound already difficult circumstances.’
Homelessness Connect is a partnership between Social Futures, Department of Family and Community Services, North Coast Community Housing, OTCP, Centrelink, The Winsome Hotel and the Casino Neighbourhood Centre.
People who experience homelessness or are just doing it tough will be able to choose some clothes and toiletries all free of charge. Also, thanks to Splendour in the Grass, there will be a selection of donated items including tents, sleeping bags and bed linen.
There will be access to services and support such as the Lismore Family Planning Service,housing, legal specialists, Centrelink and other community service groups who can provide practical support and assistance to people who need it.
‘We’ll have free haircuts, a BBQ lunch and live music,’ says Schema. ‘It’s heart-warming, the number of people and services who are coming along to support the day. And you don’t need an invitation to join in – those in need, volunteers, service providers and community members are welcome to come along and join in the celebration.’
A film that asks the hard questions
You CAN ask that: A new short film about youth homelessness in the Northern Rivers will premiere at the Lismore Homelessness Connect event on Tuesday.
The film is about youth homelessness in the area – It was inspired by a group of local high school students who wanted a chance to pose questions to young people who have experienced the challenges of homelessness first hand. They wrote a series of questions and a number of Connecting Home participants agreed to answer them.
‘I cried when I first saw the edited film’, says Connecting Home Youth Manager, Niki Gill. ‘I hear these stories all the time, but to see and hear them told in this format was really touching.
‘The participants spoke so lucidly and openly about their experiences, it is impossible not to be moved by it.’
The film highlights the high rates of youth homelessness, the very low vacancy rates for rental properties in our towns – less than 1% – and the lack of crisis accommodation for youth in the Northern Rivers.
Homelessness Connect is being held:
Lismore – 8 August, 10am-2pm at The Winsome, Lismore
Casino – 9 August 10am-2pm at 63 Hickey St, Casino
For information/interview about the Homelessness Connect Days, please contact
Lance Schema on [email protected] or 0427 895 308
For information/interview about the new short film about youth homelessness contact
Niki Gill on [email protected] 0409 748 522.
To se the film or for more information about Social Futures, visit their website: www.socialfutures.org.au