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    Sydney Homeless Connect

    When: Tuesday 3rd July 2018 Time: From 10am to 3pm Where: Sydney Town Hall, George Street, Sydney Details: For more information on this event check their website at: http://www.sydneyhomelessconnect.com/ or their Facebook Page at: https://www.facebook.com/sydneyhomelessconnect
  5. You might not always see them but homeless young people are hidden in plain sight within the Coffs Coast community. No longer just sleeping rough, they might be couch surging or looking for shelter by shifting localities or between refuges. Member of Coffs Harbour, Andrew Fraser, said the NSW Government is committed to tackling youth homelessness by focusing on prevention, better support and more housing options. "The government has committed $13.9 million to support vulnerable children and young people at risk of homelessness with access support 24 hours a day, seven days a week," he said. "Premier Berejiklian has made it a personal priority to reduce youth homelessness and it's a challenge we're tackling head on. "Extending access to services means children and young people in crisis can access a bed and round the clock support. "Importantly, it means every youth crisis refuge will continue to have an open door." In 2016-17, more than 18,936 young people aged between 15 and 24 were helped by specialist homelessness services in NSW. Story by: Coffs Coast Advocate - https://www.coffscoastadvocate.com.au/news/young-homeless-receive-premiers-pledge/3395984/
  6. A outreach program run by St George Hospital is helping homeless men take care of their health. The hospital’s renal, medicine, liver disease and mental health departments, in conjunction with Mission Australia, aims to identify the needs and improve health care. An outreach clinic was conducted at the Mission Australia Centre, Surry Hills, providing on-site physician assessment and blood collection. This clinic has expanded to include monthly hepatitis C screening and treatment, including portable fibroscan testing and a psychiatrist-led mental health clinic. The service has treated 245 homeless men so far. Renal physician and medical director of the division of medicine, Mark Brown, says this vulnerable group of people are at high risk of multiple chronic physical and mental health conditions. “As an outreach service, it takes screening and health care directly to these men, allowing identification and treatment of risk factors and health conditions, linking hospital and community practice,” Professor Brown said. “We have identified very high rates of mental health disorders (63 per cent), hepatitis C (29 per cent) and cardiovascular risk factors – 30 per cent with an established cardiovascular issue such as high blood pressure or ischemic heart disease, and 42 per cent with obesity and/or abnormal lipid or blood sugar profiles. “There are few costs involved as clinician time is given voluntarily or as part of work in a formally established outreach clinic.” Mission Australia Centre program manager, Diana Jazic commends the program. “People experiencing homelessness often find it difficult to access health care, and some of the men may have poor nutrition, have experienced high stress or substance use – all of which take their toll and can prematurely age them,” she said. “We’ve seen first-hand how successful this program has been in enabling these men to improve their mental and physical health. “With easier access to the tailored health care they need, it means they are empowered to better address their individual concerns.” Better Health for Homeless Men won the South Eastern Sydney Local Health District Improvement and Innovation Award for Preventive Health in 2017. Story by: The Leader - http://www.theleader.com.au/story/5291897/better-health-for-homeless-men/
  7. The number of people who are homeless in NSW has soared by more than one-third, with newly released census data showing people living in “severely” overcrowded dwellings are the greatest contributor to this increase. NSW recorded the most severe jump in homelessness of any state or territory between the 2016 and 2011 censuses. In 2011 the number of homeless people in NSW was 28,191 but reached 37,715 last census night, the statistics bureau found. In the City of Sydney (ABS data is divided up by local government area), the number of people who were homeless on census night increased by almost 70 per cent. Accounting for all categories of homelessness, from those "sleeping rough" to people who are couch surfing, the state's 37 per cent increase was more than double the national average of 14 per cent. But the largest increase was recorded in the categories of people living in overcrowded dwellings, which rose by just under 75 per cent, and young people aged between 19 and 24, whose numbers rose more than 90 per cent. Housing stress pushed Tykara Lang into homelessness at a time when most teenagers' lives are defined by the stress of preparing for HSC exams. Ms Lang, 19, was seeking new accommodation after living with her grandmother whose lease expired when she moved into an aged-care facility, and as the teenager's HSC trials were coming up. She was able to find temporary accommodation but in less than ideal circumstances. "It was a rough arrangement. I was doing my half-yearlies for the HSC and living in a [place mainly for] people for drug and alcohol problems, which I don't [have]. "But a bed had just opened up." Ms Lang found help from Mission Australia after looking them up online. The organisation provided her with a case worker and advocate who found her new temporary accommodation in the inner-city she shares with one flatmate. Despite the challenges she faced in year 12 Ms Lang has recently started studying nursing at TAFE and has secured transitional accommodation she shares with one housemate while she studies. But advocates decried the latest statistics as an international embarrassment and said outcomes like Ms Lang's were increasingly rare as many of the state's homelessness services now verged on breaking point. The chief executive of St Vincent de Paul Society NSW, Jack de Groot, said: “It’s time for the state government tells us its plan to deal with the issue.” The CEO of Mission Australia, James Toomey, said national figures showing 116,000 people homeless in 2016 reflected the need for co-ordinated federal action. The CEO of Homelessness NSW, Katherine McKernan, said an increase in homelessness during a five-year period when the state and the state government were enjoying sustained economic growth was not acceptable. The state government last year committed to tender a second tranche of social housing for its 3400-home social housing fund, which is backed by more than $1 billion in investment. But Ms McKernan said with only 1 per cent of housing in the greater city accessible to those on low incomes, large-scale investment in more social housing was needed quickly. The waiting list for public housing in NSW now runs to 60,000 people. Ms Lang, who attributed support from nurses during difficult hospital stays in her youth inspired her choice of study, said support from Mission Australia had provided a case worker, psychologist and dietitian that had helped her not just to find a new path in life but to maintain her mental health after being diagnosed with depression and an eating disorder in her youth. But so, too, has the routine of home. "Everyone thrives on stability," she said. "Knowing where I'm going to be tomorrow helps so much." Story by: The Sydney Morning Hearld - https://www.smh.com.au/politics/nsw/homelessness-in-nsw-jumps-by-more-than-30-per-cent-20180314-p4z4ds.html
  8. When you're sleeping rough the act of having a regular hot shower can be a luxury. Dennis McGuire knows that feeling. After being evicted from a garage he sublet, he found himself living inside a cold, small campervan parked on a friend's property. Living without power and washing facilities for four months, he came to rely on a free mobile shower bus service that visited a nearby suburb twice a week. "It gave you a feeling that you could change ... It was very important," Mr McGuire said. Unfortunately the mobile shower he once used is unavailable due to major mechanical issues that have seen it taken off the road indefinitely. Repair bill runs into the thousands Driver Tim Warne has been operating the bus for two years, visiting the western Sydney suburbs of Liverpool, Parramatta, Penrith and the Hawkesbury region. He said the service provided around 200 free showers a month and brought immeasurable benefits to the people who used it. "It was just the dignity that they would get back and the feeling of community and not being judged," Mr Warne said. The mobile shower bus is run by charity organisation OneVoice, which has similar purpose vehicles in other capital cities. The organisation's founder Josh Wilkins said it provided a much-needed facility for people who would otherwise resort to using public toilet hand basins or outdoor water taps to wash themselves. While initial costs to replace the engine and fix the fuel system were estimated to be around $12,000, the final figure rose to $32,000 when Mr Wilkins received a quote on Thursday. A crowdfunding campaign has been set up appealing to the public to assist with the repair costs. The company SC Johnson, a household cleaning supply company and one of the original sponsors of the bus, has already donated $10,000 to the cause. 'A miniature tent city' The bus breakdown highlights the broader homeless situation in the city's outer districts. Hawkesbury's Helping Hands charity operator Linda Strickland said there had been an increase in the number of homeless people in the years she had been working there. However she said it was difficult to get a true indication of the number across the vast area. "In other areas the homeless are more concentrated and more visual," Ms Strickland said. "Out in the Hawkesbury we have a lot of rural areas where people can camp on the riverbank and we also have a lot of people living in their vehicles." She described what she called a "miniature tent city" slowing building up in bushland about 1.5km from the centre of Windsor. "At any given time we could have 30 to 35 people out there. "We've got families living over there, retired people over there; all ages, all professions." Many of the residents have been provided with camping equipment that Ms Strickland salvaged from a music festival earlier in the year. While her organisation solely relied on donations from the public, she said more needed to be done by officials to address a lack of affordable housing. Engagement brings support Through the mobile shower bus, Mr Warne is able to engage with those doing it tough and connect them to other support services. He was able to help find permanent accommodation for a fortunate few including Mr McGuire who now lives in a granny flat with his pet dog. While Mr McGuire said he did not have much money left over after paying his rent, he felt grateful to have a safe place to sleep each night. Story by: ABC - http://www.abc.net.au/news/2018-03-22/homeless-mobile-shower-bus-crowdfunding-appeal-campaign-repairs/9572052
  9. Just before 10am on Friday, Audrey Blair and her friends, one of them still carrying his blanket, were ordered out of Brisbane's central square. It was nothing new for the handful of homeless young people, part of a dozen-strong group aged between 12 and 20, and used to police telling them to move on. The one thing different about Friday was the justification. Half a dozen police, some of many brought in from throughout Queensland told them they had to make way for the Duchess of Cornwall, Ms Blair said. “It's like they're trying to make everything look perfect,” she said. “Make it look perfect in their eyes, when they should just let it go. “Covering up all the bad stuff and trying to make out like Brisbane’s good.” In the latest stop on the royal tour, the duchess was meeting with representatives from Orange Sky Laundry and the Micah Project, two of the city’s highest profile homelessness organisations. “That’s the irony of the city,” said Micah CEO Karyn Walsh, resigned to the difficulties experienced by her organisation’s clients. “The city has lots of contested events and spaces and the reality of being in the city is that you are always moved on for other things. “That’s what life is like living in the city and being homeless. “And it’s just one of the realities that people get very used to and at the same time struggle with it. Because it’s not about inclusion.” Ms Blair and her friend Rachael Hughes described homelessness in the city as a fairly constant state of being moved from one place to another, but said it had been much more severe since the royals came to town. They’re no angels and brush with police often. Ms Blair said she had been homeless since 15, had stolen to clothe and feed herself and was only recently released from jail. “That's another thing about being on the streets, you know. Like getting into a lot of trouble, reoffending all the time,” she said. Police on the scene directed questions to the central media office, which didn’t respond to questions. Ms Blair received regular Centrelink payments but said she often shared them with Ms Hughes, a New Zealand citizen. “A normal day is waking up to police officers, seeing police officers throughout the day,” Ms Hughes said. “To be honest, asking others for you know, any sort of change just to get a feed for the day, any necessities that we need. “Most of the time we actually have to go in and steal it because they’re any services that are open to most of the services who are out.” People would look down on the group, she said, like “we're not even dirt - we're below that.” Jobs were pretty much out of the question without a fixed address and even simple things susch as charging a mobile phone were tough if they were moved out of the King George Square area too quickly. As for the actual discussion with the duchess, Orange Sky Laundry founder and former Young Australian of the year Nicholas Marchesi said it was a “cool opportunity” to share the service and a great chance to spread awareness. Camilla even promised to put her hand up to be the first volunteer for the charity if it launched in the UK. But Mr Marchesi said he had no idea about anyone being moved on before the event and did not want to comment on it. “I’m not aware of this situation and I’m not comfortable commenting on the actions of any service provider in that one instance. We weren’t aware of it,” he said. “It didn’t affect the people that we help and it didn’t affect our opportunity to make people aware of Orange Sky.” Story by: Brisbane Times - https://www.brisbanetimes.com.au/national/queensland/homeless-people-ordered-to-leave-before-royal-visit-with-homelessness-groups-20180406-p4z89e.html
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