Homelessness Week timely reminder to give back

With the winter chill well and truly settled in, the Maroondah community is asked to dig a little deeper, so others can stay warm and sheltered.

Local support-providers are pressed at present, as many families and individuals face challenges throughout the cooler months. However, through offering a donation of any size, we can all contribute positively to our beloved community.

Homelessness Week 2021 runs from 1-7 August and is a timely reminder that services are experiencing their traditional winter increase.

Maroondah Council’s Community Relief Facilitator, Penny Moore, said while we are dealing with the impacts of COVID-19, and subsequent restrictions and lockdowns, we must be mindful our most vulnerable community members continue to face challenges of their own.

“We all understand this is a time of great uncertainty, but we can’t forget that some people in our community are struggling to keep a roof over their head and food on their table. If you’re experiencing homelessness, or at risk of homelessness, things can get tough really quickly, perhaps even more so in winter,” she said.

“Please remember that, even for those who are fortunate to have a roof over their head, they can only be a short step away from choosing between buying food or paying for electricity. These are people who can be hit hardest during winter. These are people you might not consider as being in need of support, or even as experiencing homelessness.”

About 4,000 people are experiencing homelessness in Eastern Metropolitan Area, according to recent data. Ringwood, Ringwood East and Croydon represent the highest numbers. Many are the ‘hidden homeless’, people who live temporarily with others but who aren’t guaranteed permanent, private and secure housing.

Eastern Homelessness Network Coordinator, Jo McDonald, said while Homelessness Week activities have been impacted by restrictions, some great work continues to take place.

“During the pandemic the region accommodated over 900 vulnerable people in emergency accommodation and over 130 households have now been allocated housing via the State’s Homelessness to a Home (H2H) program,” Jo said.

However, Jo said there is still much work to do. She said commitment is needed to build social and affordable housing. Rents in Australia have soared by 15.1% in just one year, while the proportion of social housing has declined.

Homelessness is a structural failing, not a personal one. A lack of affordable and secure housing is the number one reason for people seeking homelessness support.

“As expected, there has been an increase in numbers seeking our services during the pandemic. As JobSeeker and Youth Allowance remains low, rental stress increases.”

Maroondah City Council works closely with local service-providers to support their work. During Homelessness Week this year, we ask you to show them support, too. Perhaps consider a one-off or ongoing financial donation. Alternatively, blankets, warm clothing, non-perishable food items or material aid are often welcome.

Homelessness Week 2021

In Australia, there are over 116,000 people experiencing homelessness on any given night. Homelessness Week aims to raise awareness on the impact of homelessness on Australia through national and local community events, including providing information on the importance of housing and community education.

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