Homelessness Week


 

Did you know that over 100,000 Australians experience homelessness on any night of the week? Are you aware that this number has grown over 10% in the past decade?

Many Australians are not conscious of the homelessness epidemic in this country nor the problems that people experiencing homelessness face on a daily basis (which include physical health concerns, lack of social connection, stigma, etc.) However, Homelessness Australia is here to try and change that.

In 2007, they formally launched a national initiative called Homelessness Week. It has since grown into a widely recognised event spawning associated happenings across all states and territories. Star Health is involved with the homeless memorial (funded by the City of Port Phillip) which bring the community together to reflect and remember those who have died while homeless.

August 6 marks the beginning of Homelessness Week in Australia. It is a way to break down the stereotypes about homelessness and expose people to the truth, which is that homelessness knows no race, gender, age, ethnicity or even financial background. All sorts of people can face homelessness for all sorts of personal reasons.

In Australia, the gender identities of homeless people are split nearly evenly between male and female. Victoria has the second largest homeless population in the country, following New South Wales and preceding Queensland. The largest proportions of people facing homelessness fall between ages 19 to 34, although the amount of homeless children under age 18 is astonishingly high at 27% of the entire homeless population. While many people facing homelessness were born overseas, native-born people make up a greater proportion.

The timing of Homelessness Week is especially impactful because it is one of Australia’s coldest times of year. If you think you’re uncomfortable when you step foot outside, just think about how anyone who lives on the streets must feel. From August 6 through 12, many missions, churches and organisations around the country will be holding events, talks and vigils to shed light on this reality, not to mention opening their doors for those facing homelessness to access shelter.

Every year, Homelessness Week takes on a different theme; This year’s is “Ending homelessness together”. What this looks like is taking a collaborative, community-based approach to the awareness, prevention and response to homelessness. It is not just the responsibility of the government or the people facing homelessness to solve this problem; Everyone has the capability to help if they choose.

This does not mean that individuals should be expected to handle the problem on a personal level- What it does mean is that they should take advantage of resources around them, acknowledge the potential for change that they can have, and call upon political leaders to facilitate that shift.

It also means engaging with the community to create a dialogue about homelessness and inform the unknowing about the issue at hand. In Victoria, events for Homelessness Week include art exhibitions, networking forums, documentary viewings and community meals intended to stimulate positive action.

Unfortunately, there are many people who are encouraged to take action during Homelessness Week yet let their efforts fall to the wayside the rest of the year. That’s why it’s very important that companies like StarHeath remain consistent with the support we provide. We offer a range of services for those facing homelessness, and we aim to treat each person we work with individually to offer personalised solutions for their unique situation.

Just like the people at Homelessness Australia, we also believe that a community-based approach is most effective in responding to homelessness. For this reason, we provide information and third-party references to the people we work with in order to provide them with the help they need. The path towards lower rates of homelessness in Australian relies on many different communities coming together to help those who suffer. From applying for accomodation to accessing medical services and even adopting fitness routines, our housing and homelessness services cross all industries.

If you would like to get involved in Homelessness Week this year, it’s not too late! You can check out events specific to your state here and become the change you would like to see. Alternatively, if you’re experiencing homelessness and need support, feel free to contact us about our cost-free services at 9525 1300.

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