NO PLACE TO GO

Dubbo Photo News - - Front page - BY LY­DIA PEDRANA

HOME­LESS­NESS may seem like an unimag­in­able cir­cum­stance to some, but the re­al­ity is, it’s hap­pen­ing right here on our doorstep, in our very own neigh­bour­hoods.

Last year, more than 1,249 peo­ple sought help by con­tact­ing Orana Sup­port Ser­vice (OSS), a local spe­cial­ist home­less ser­vice op­er­at­ing in Dubbo, Welling­ton and Nar­romine.

A shock­ing statis­tic is that 19.6 per cent of th­ese peo­ple sought as­sis­tance from OSS as a re­sult of re­la­tion­ship or family break­down and 11.8 per cent asked for help fol­low­ing do­mes­tic or family vi­o­lence.

Tina Reynolds, man­ager at OSS in Dubbo, said home­less­ness is one of Aus­tralia’s big­gest is­sues and one that af­fects myr­iad cit­i­zens.

“One of the most sig­nif­i­cant so­cial prob­lems in Aus­tralia is home­less­ness,” she told Dubbo Photo News.

“In Aus­tralia the home­less pop­u­la­tion has be­come more di­verse over the past 20 years with more young peo­ple, women and fam­i­lies ex­pe­ri­enc­ing home­less­ness.”

The OSS works hard to sup­port those in need and pri­ori­tise those who are al­ready home­less, at risk of home­less­ness and vic­tims of do­mes­tic vi­o­lence, by de­liv­er­ing in­no­va­tive ser­vices and ad­dress­ing the un­der­ly­ing needs of clients.

Funded by Family and Com­mu­nity Ser­vices (FACS) and by work­ing closely with Hous­ing NSW and Compass Hous­ing, OSS aims to ad­dress client is­sues and work to­wards se­cur­ing long term ac­com­mo­da­tion.

The or­gan­i­sa­tion also op­er­ates a refuge for adults age over 18 years who are home­less­ness, as well as a do­mes­tic vi­o­lence refuge with five bed­rooms for women and chil­dren who have suf­fered family vi­o­lence.

Na­tional Home­less­ness Week falls on Au­gust 4-10 this year and with more than 116,000 Aussies home­less right now, the com­mu­nity is urged to bring the is­sue into the spot­light and onto the agenda of local, state and na­tional gov­ern­ments.

Ac­cord­ing to the na­tional peak body, Home­less­ness Aus­tralia, there are cur­rently 195,000 Aus­tralians on so­cial hous­ing wait­lists and de­spite in­creased fund­ing, last year one in three peo­ple were turned away from home­less­ness ser­vices due to a lack of re­sources.

As an at­tempt to re­verse th­ese sta­tis­tics, the theme for Home­less­ness Aware­ness Week 2019 is “Hous­ing ends home­less­ness”, and Home­less­ness Aus­tralia is en­cour­ag­ing Aus­tralians to be noisy enough to get po­lit­i­cal lead­ers to lis­ten and make the changes needed to end the epi­demic.

Dur­ing the first week of Au­gust, the OSS is join­ing forces with other sup­port agen­cies to host events and for bring the topic of home­less­ness to the fore­front.

With events planned in Welling­ton (Tues­day 6 at Cameron Park), Nar­romine (Wed­nes­day 7 at Dun­das Oval) and Dubbo (Thurs­day 8 at Mac­quarie Lions Park), there will be a free bar­beque, a pet­ting zoo, kids craft ac­tiv­i­ties and games.

Other or­gan­i­sa­tions in­volved in­clude Mis­sion Aus­tralia, Com­mu­ni­ties for Chil­dren, Le­gal Aid, Cen­tre­link, Unit­ing, Well­ways, Hous­ing NSW, Compass Hous­ing, Con­nect­ing Com­mu­nity Ser­vices, Headspace and Gagamin Abo­rig­i­nal Men’s Group.

Home­less­ness NSW’S Se­nior Pol­icy and Re­search Of­fi­cer, Digby Hughes, be­lieves Aus­tralia can see the end of home­less­ness if com­mu­ni­ties con­tinue to work to­gether like this.

“It is good to see local home­less ser­vices work­ing to­gether to high­light the is­sues around home­less­ness and that we can end it,” he said.

“In Aus­tralia no­body should be home­less, we know that a sup­ply of af­ford­able hous­ing, with ap­pro­pri­ate sup­port can end home­less­ness,” he said.

“All gov­ern­ments need to work to­wards end­ing home­less­ness.”

Orana Sup­port Ser­vice man­ager, Tina Reynolds

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