Barbecue changes locals’ perceptions on homelessness

CatholicCare staff Crystal Webster, Alanna Josephson and Scott Riley manned an
information stall and barbecue in the main street last Wednesday to create awareness of National Homelessness Week.

CatholicCare (previously CentaCare) held a barbecue outside the Library last Wednesday to raise awareness of National Homelessness Week.

Homelessness Week is held annually and is coordinated by Homelessness Australia to raise awareness of people experiencing homelessness, the issues they face and the action needed to achieve enduring solutions.

Local CatholicCare staff, Alanna Josephson, Crystal Webster and Scott Riley were on hand to let locals know that homelessness is not just about sleeping on the streets.

Alanna explained when a person does not have suitable accommodation alternatives, they are considered homeless.

“This can include ‘couch surfing’, or staying with family or with friends,” Alanna said.

It could be living in a dwelling that is inadequate, has no tenure or a short tenure and is not extendable, in an improvised dwelling such as tents or in temporary accommodation with other households.

There are many circumstances that can lead to a person becoming homeless and could be due to family break down; domestic or family violence; financial difficulties; mental health issues; drug or alcohol issues; housing affordability; mortgage stress; lack of employment; welfare dependency; or a lack of support from family, friends, services and the community.

Alanna said their awareness promotions about homelessness seem to be working in the local community.

“The people we have spoken to today appear to be more aware of what homelessness actually is compared to this time last year when people presumed homelessness was just about people who were sleeping rough on the streets,” Alanna said.

CatholicCare can provide safe, secure accommodation, support and referrals to other services, assist in making applications for housing and help develop skills to maintain independent living.