14.9 C
Byron Shire
June 26, 2024

Community rallies behind Byron’s homeless

Latest News

Cinema: Despicable Me 4

With the school holidays fast approaching it’s time to rev up the kids to see the ever-lovable Minions in the first Despicable Me movie in seven years.

Other News

Yes, peace is the solution

Both Duncan Shipley-Smith and John Scrivener yet again display the same responses that I talk about over, and over...

Big round of local rugby this weekend as top teams get to flex their muscle

There was another round of big wins for the top teams in the Far North Coast Rugby Union first grade last Saturday, but this weekend’s clash between the Byron Shire Rebels (BSR) and Wollongbar Alstonville Rugby (WAR) could see either team suffer their first loss of the season.

Martial arts legend to visit Byron Bay

Chan Cheuk Fai will visit Byron Bay to conduct a black belt grading for Jin Wu Koon Karate on Friday, July 5, and a combat seminar on Saturday, July 6.

MP and Cr call for inclusion of social housing in Ballina

Ballina Shire Council will receive $210,000 through the NSW government’s $100 million Resilient Lands Program to help support the delivery of a range of housing options across the Ballina Shire.

Have your say on Bangalow tree removal/succession plan

Bangalow residents and businesses are being asked for their thoughts on a plan to replace seven trees in the main street (Byron Street) and two in Station Street. 

Curtains up on Byron High’s debut musical

After many months of hard work and rehearsing, Byron Bay High School students and staff  are about to perform...

Harcourts and BCC staff. Brett McDonald, Natalie Leslie, Steve Leslie, Shanti Des Fours and Kristin Alexander. Photo supplied.

Local organisations are getting behind the project to help provide shelter to Byron’s homeless during extreme wet weather events by providing the Byron Community Centre with $12,000 in seed money.

The recent fundraiser at Billinudgel Hotels Nudge, Nudge, Wink, Wink run by the Cunning Stunts has been combined with $5,000 from donated from the Harcourts Foundation and a number of organisations and businesses, including both the Anglican and Uniting Church who have offered their halls as shelters, and St Vincent De Paul who have also committed $5000 to the project.

With the rate of homelessness in Byron Bay sitting at 12 times the NSW average and the percentage of rough sleepers seven times the state average (ABS 2011), it may come as a surprise to learn that funding to services addressing homelessness in the Byron Shire was drastically cut in 2015. This lead to the closure of the shire’s only homeless drop-in centre and emergency accommodation facility.

‘When the heavy rain sets in for a few days and the flooding starts, people used to at least find some reprieve at the Drop-In centre. Now there is nowhere for people who are sleeping rough to go for shelter, day or night. There is nowhere for them to store their belongings and nowhere to dry out,’ explained Shanti Des Fours, project coordinator.

Nudge Nudge Crew: Laura Peck, Dale Stephen, Darren Sutton, Sarah Sutton photographer Greg Bork April 2018 Nudge. Photo supplied.

Generally, these events aren’t serious enough to trigger formal State Government Emergency Evacuation Responses, but they have significant impacts on the growing number of people who are falling through the cracks in Byron Bay and winding up homeless.

‘It can be absolutely traumatising. People regularly lose everything they own in these events. They’re afraid, they’re in danger and they can be soaking wet for days on end,’ said Kristen Alexander, community services worker at the Byron Community Centre.

Instead of being forced to shelter in shop alcoves or other private property, the project will provide a safe and supportive solution for homeless people. It will provide two separate shelters, one for women and one for men. There will be bedding, food and drinks, dry clothing and basic material aid during the events. Trained community services staff, security and volunteers will oversee the operation of each shelter.

This project won’t solve homelessness, we know that,’ said Ms Des Fours.

‘But we need to work at all levels. Housing affordability and availability is at crisis point and unemployment rates are among the highest in the state, resolving these issues is vital to addressing homelessness in the Shire. But in the meantime, we also need to address the here and now; there are people in our community who need a safe place to sleep when it rains, it’s as simple as that.

To learn more about the project or to donate contact Shanti Des Fours at the Byron Community Centre 02 66 856 807.


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.

1 COMMENT

  1. Would it make more sense to construct basic self contained affordable accommodation that will receive rent assistance from Centrelink ?

LEAVE A REPLY

Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here

Do gin and art mix?

  If you’re an artist, and want to win $5,000 for having your art and your name featured on a limited-edition bottle of gin, plus...

The masters of ‘zero to hero’

The masters of ‘zero to hero’ pub rock, The Tenants, are bringing their live show and Aussie humour to Mullum’s Courthouse Hotel for one night only on Thursday, July 4.

Gin with a slice of rainforest

Cape Byron Distillery, the B-Corp certified distillery from Byron Bay has released a gin flavoured with rainforest botanicals carefully selected by the five winning...

Dirty Three with Eleanor Jawurlngali

New expanses to create. New music to share. The legendary trio Dirty Three are coming to The Green Room, Byron.