Services to support the homeless
WHITSUNDAY residents are being asked to think about those without a roof over their heads during national Homeless Persons Week from August 5-11.
Whitsunday Crisis and Counselling Services (WCCS) CEO Carmen Bekker said locally “we could be forgiven for thinking this problem does not exist, yet it does.”
Ms Bekker said WCCS helped 10-15 homeless people each month, through the Emergency Relief Program.
“The perception of the Whitsundays is one of ample work opportunities between the mining sector, rural seasonal work and the tourism industry, yet [the] reality today is that all of the sectors have experienced significant downturns in employment opportunities and people arriving have fallen short of the expectations to find employment,” she said.
Ms Bekker said WCCS was able to provide a range of assistance including a specialist homelessness service for women and children escaping domestic and family violence.
“The Whitsunday region is fortunate to have this program as it is the only existing funded homelessness program in the area,” she said.
Each year an average of 50 women and 70 children are accommodated with WCCS.
Ms Bekker said many arrived with little more than a backpack to hold their important paperwork and minimal clothes.
The WCCS specialist homelessness service for women and children currently remains funded until June 2014, but funding only covers basic operations and other holistic aspects of the service rely heavily on community support.
People requiring assistance and community members or groups who would like to donate can contact WCCS on 4946 2999 or firstname.lastname@example.org.