Shelters at full capacity
HOMELESSNESS Week is co-ordinated by Homelessness Australia to raise awareness and will be held from August 7-13.
SunnyKids CEO Chris Turner has been at the forefront of providing services and managing shelters for almost a decade and founded SunnyKids in 2009 for children at risk.
Mr Turner said people may be surprised to know that 75% of people living in SunnyKids’ homelessness services are children, mostly aged 0-12.
“The real problem that we need to address is that homelessness is an outcome of intergenerational disadvantage – over 50% of the adults in our services were also homeless as children themselves; there is a clear pattern.”
Another issue is that the true picture of homelessness is difficult to gauge because services are at full capacity.
“SunnyKids provides 7000 nights of accommodation per year for homeless people and two other local services are similarly full all the time,” Mr Turner said.
“We clearly need more and a radically different way of approaching housing for people in need, especially our youngest members of the community who are at risk in many ways when homeless.
“Our challenge as a wider community is to ensure that we change the circumstances of children now, breaking these patterns, so the next generation of their family is not homeless.”