Northern Rivers community groups and businesses will rally together next week (August 7 & 8) to tackle the region’s mounting homelessness crisis.
To mark national Homelessness Week [6-12 August], community events will be held at Lismore and Casino to provide free haircuts, clothes, camping gear, a BBQ lunch, entertainment and time to connect with local services.
On Track Community Programs homelessness service manager Sarah Walker said demand for housing support was greater than ever.
‘The last Census only counted about 1,500 homeless people across the Northern Rivers’ seven local government areas but our experience is that it’s much worse on the ground,’ Ms Walker said.
‘The critical shortage of safe, secure, affordable housing in our region means too many families and individuals have to sleep rough or depend on friends or family for shelter.
‘Adding to the pressure is many middle-income families being pushed out of the rental market, with dozens of people vying for each rental property.’
Ms Walker said the Homelessness Connect events at Lismore and Casino will provide practical support and united the community to help solve the problem.
‘Many people experiencing homelessness often need more than a roof over their heads, so providing broader support and information in one spot is vital,’ she said.
‘We will also be giving away more than 100 tents, floor mats, sleeping bags, pillows, blankets and other camping gear which were collected after the Splendour in the Grass music festival.
‘These events rely on the support of businesses such as ANZ, Richmond Valley Meats and R Gordon & Son Real Estate and we’re also grateful to the many community partners involved.’