AS HOMELESSNESS Week draws to a close, the Department of Human Services says it is an opportunity to raise awareness of homelessness and its impacts, and to promote the services available to some of the most vulnerable members of our community.
Local community engagement officer Vicki Wilkinson said there were resources available in Beaudesert for residents who are at risk of homelessness, with the major issues in the region including family violence, relationship breakdowns, child abuse, mental illness, addiction and housing affordability.
She said there had been some positive inroads into dealing with the accommodation crisis.
“There are some new housing estates including one in Yarrabilba with affordable housing,” she said.
For those who may be tolerating an unhappy or violent relationship to avoid being homeless, Ms Wilkinson said humanservices.gov.au had a list of contact numbers for Beaudesert residents to access financial and practical support.
“There are resources out there,” she said.
“The website has a search tool for help in a crisis and we will also be launching the latest edition of the Logan Street Services Guide – which lists contact details for services in the region – at Homeless Connect Day on October 4.
“This is the third year for the event and there will be a shuttle service from Beaudesert for people who want to come along.”
Specialist staff like Community Engagement Officer Jo Efaraimo visit crisis support services to meet with vulnerable customers in an environment where they feel comfortable.
“The leading cause of homelessness in Australia is family violence” Ms Efaraimo said.
“We visit refuges and community centres to help connect people who are homeless, or at risk of becoming homeless, with local support services and Centrelink payments.
“We build trust with people so they feel comfortable enough to talk about their situation and refer them to the most relevant support services.
“Services may include refuges, medical services, education and employment support to help build the foundations for a strong, healthy and stable future.”
Department of Human Services general manager Hank Jongen said the department is committed to maintaining essential outreach services and working closely with community stakeholders to make sure no-one slips through the cracks.
“While it is essential we continue to provide payments and support services for our most vulnerable, it also important we come up with innovative ways to collaborate and address the underlying factors causing homelessness in the first place,” Mr Jongen said.