Momentum Collective, Social Futures and students from Grafton TAFE hosted an art installation at Market Square in Grafton on August 5 to raise awareness of the impact of homelessness in the local community.
As they gathered alongside one another in a show of strength and unity, they proudly held up their signs and engaged with members of the public who walked by.
Sarah Dybing, Service Director of Community Programs, said more than 116000 people experience homelessness on any given night in Australia, and the Northern Rivers is among one of the highest regions in the country to experience housing stress.
“We co-hosted the event in Grafton in partnership with Social Futures to raise community awareness of the issue and let people know how they can make a difference,” she said.
The art installation in Grafton drew on resources provided by the national Everybody’s Home Campaign, which aims to end homelessness by engaging community, government, business and philanthropy to increase the supply of affordable housing.
The campaign identifies five core activities to address the nation’s housing system including support for first home-buyers, develop and implement a National Housing Strategy, better deal for renters, immediate relief for Australians in chronic rental stress, and a plan to end homelessness by 2030.
After helping to raise community awareness of the impact of homelessness in the Clarence Valley at Market Square earlier this month, Community Support Manager for Momentum Collective Nicole Secomb joined ABS Census employees at the Gurehlgam Organisation in Grafton last week to assist people who are sleeping rough in filling out the Census forms to ensure they are represented in a national estimate of the prevalence of homelessness in Australia.
“I think it is vital that everyone is counted in the ABS Census of Population and Housing,” Ms Secomb said.
“The results of the Census will help us understand the locations where people need more support, services and housing.
“I’m glad that the ABS has included questions about temporary and supported accommodation and couch surfing because we need to realise that homelessness is not just about sleeping on the streets.
“It also includes the hidden homeless who are staying with friends and relatives, in caravan parks and cars.
“These situations are temporary and insecure and could result in people suddenly becoming homeless.”
Ms Secomb said she also hopes Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people are well represented in this year’s Census, adding it is important for them to be counted.
“If we have a better understanding of the diversity of people in our communities we are better placed to respond to their needs,” she said.
- If you are at risk of becoming homeless, or currently experiencing homelessness you can call Momentum on 1300 355 305 or Social Futures on 1800 048 310. If you have nowhere safe to sleep tonight, please call Link to Home on 1800 152 152 (24-hours).