Compass Housing Services (Compass) is supporting a new resource to help Newcastle and Hunter service providers who are supporting people experiencing homelessness during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Hunter Homeless Connect is distributing a 108 page printed directory this week which contains details of local support services with specific Covid-19 updates. Orica has funded the initial printing of 2,000 copies. Lake Macquarie City Council and the City of Newcastle are assisting with distribution.
Hunter Homeless Connect Day Co-ordinator and Compass Events & Community Relations Manager, Michelle Faithfull, said the directory is normally distributed at the organisation’s annual Hunter Homeless Connect Day event, which has been rescheduled to October.
Ms Faithfull said it is still uncertain whether the event will go ahead then so the committee’s priority is to continue to connect people in need with services and support now.
She said people experiencing homelessness are particularly vulnerable during this pandemic and need support more than ever.
“An increased number of people in our community have lost their jobs due to COVID-19 restrictions and many are now at risk of homelessness,” Ms Faithfull said.
“They face hardship and have no idea where to find support,” she said.
“They will also bear the impact of local support services being affected by social distancing restrictions. Support services are facing funding uncertainty, reduced volunteers and staffing availability.”
The Hunter Homeless Connect 2020 Directory contains information on crisis contacts, clothing, emergency relief, healthcare, housing, food providers, domestic violence, refugee services, drug, alcohol and gambling services, financial support, mental health, and pet care. There are specific sections for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people, people with a disability and young people. A PDF copy is also available on the Hunter Homeless Connect website.
Ms Faithfull said Hunter Homeless Connect has applied for a grant to create a live, updateable online version of the directory on its website.
She said the directory is a compilation of current services available as at May 2020. It is not exhaustive and updates from organisations are welcomed.
Hunter Homeless Connect is a not for profit organisation initially founded by community services volunteers in 2009. For more information visit the Hunter Homeless Connect Day Facebook page or www.hunterhomelessconnect.org
- 145,000 Australian households are waiting for social housing.
- 28,000 Australians between 12-25 years old are experiencing homelessness every night.
- A survey conducted by volunteers at the 2018 HHCD event revealed that for the third straight year, women outnumbered men among those seeking assistance. The 40-54 age group (combined) represented the largest number of attendees.
- The Australia Bureau of Statistics (ABS) said that 116,42 people were homeless on census night in 2016, representing 50 homeless people per 10,000. 1,750 of those were experiencing homelessness in the Hunter region.