There are currently 105, 237* homeless people in Australia, and the majority of these people are not those whom you see on the street, ‘sleeping rough’. Most are ‘hidden homeless’ and range in ages and demographics, with 69% reporting that life’s circumstances led them to be homeless.
Each year, within our local area, community members rally together in support of the annual Hunter Homeless Connect Day – this year being held on 1 August. This day provides a one-stop-shop of human and community services including free haircuts, immunisation, birth certificates, bedding, phone cards, food and clothing to those who are homeless, at risk of becoming homeless and doing it tough.
Hunter Homeless Connect recently published My Connections Home - journeys through homelessness, a book exploring the reality of homelessness in the Hunter, which includes nine emotionally charged profiles of formerly homeless Hunter residents, told in their own words. Each story details the circumstances that led the narrators into their homelessness, the endless struggles of living without a home, and most importantly the resilience and courage that allowed them to rebuild their lives.
Reading the stories in this book dispels the myth that homelessness is an isolated issue for some of our community, and rather that many circumstances can lead to someone becoming homeless. Putting a face to the statistics brings understanding and compassion to those experiencing homelessness and empowers us all to be the change for those less fortunate.
My Connections Home - journeys through homelessness is available at all Beyond Bank branches throughout Newcastle and proceeds support the ongoing work of Hunter Homeless Connect.
*2011 ABS Census