Creating awareness during National Homelessness Week

CatholicCare’s new Housing Support Officer
Gina Lyons started in the role last week and
is keen to let the Cobar community know
what services they can provide.

It was National Homelessness Week last
week and, while we may not see people
sleeping rough on the streets in Cobar,
there are homeless people in our community.
CatholicCare Wilcannia-Forbes’s Housing
Support Officer, Gina Lyons said just because
we can’t see it doesn’t mean it’s not happening.
“There’s just not enough awareness around
it, so that’s what we want to do, provide the
community with awareness,” Gina told The
Cobar Weekly.
She said CatholicCare Wilcannia-Forbes
offers a range of support for people who are
“I can help with tenancies, and help clients
to sustain a tenancy.
“I can also refer to other organisations if
needed,” Gina said.
People that are homeless, or at risk of becoming
homeless, could be people fleeing a
domestic violence situation.
She said financial hardships or relationship
breakdowns can also lead to homelessness.
“Becoming homeless, or the risk of it, can
happen to anyone, regardless of age or race.
“It doesn’t matter where you come from, it
can happen,” Gina said.
CatholicCare staff can help with applications
for housing, whether it be with Housing
NSW or a real estate agent.
“If people are unsure where to start we can
help with information and support.
“We work in conjunction with Housing
NSW to assist individuals, couples or families,”
Gina said.
She said they can help people to find a safe
place to stay in times of a crisis, help with
transitional accommodation or help them to
find and maintain long-term accommodation.
“We can provide intensive support for women
and children escaping violence and also
have a ‘Reconnect Program’ to support young
people under the age of 18 who are homeless
or at risk of becoming homeless.
“It depends on the situation as to what other
services we can help with,” she said.
“CatholicCare also has financial councillors
and family and relationship councillors to
provide support during challenging times.”
In the case of someone who might walk into
the office with only the clothes on their back,
Gina said firstly they would assess the situation
safety-wise for both the client and their
She said CatholicCare could then help provide
the client with some temporary crisis
accommodation and also basic needs if necessary,
such as a toothbrush or toiletry pack, a
supermarket or fuel voucher and maybe even
some household goods.
“It all depends on the situation,” she said.
“Some people have no paperwork with them
eg ID or banking documents, we can help get
those for them.
“They can use our phones and we have access
to computers and internet here for them
to utilise.
“We’re here to service the community, we
want to be able to help.”
Gina said she plans to start networking and
connecting with other community services “so
we are all aware of what each can provide to
the community”.