Addressing homelessness in our regionAugust 3, 2016
Homelessness remains a chronic issue in our community. Data from the Australian Bureau of Statistics (2011) indicated there were almost 750 homeless people in the G21 region (G21 Region Profile, October 2014). As part of Homeless Person’s Week (August 1 – 7), we’d like to highlight the work of our community partners in addressing this issue.
Homelessness can mean a number of things – couch surfing with family and friends, living in a car, sleeping rough in the streets or park areas. And the causes are varied – domestic violence, a shortage of affordable housing, unemployment, mental illness, family breakdown and drug and alcohol abuse all contribute to homelessness in the region.
Through our Survive and Thrive Program, the Give Where You Live Foundation provides grants to community organisations that are working to impact the issue of homelessness. Through your donations, the following organisations received 2016 grants to help those at risk of or experiencing homelessness:
- Samaritan House received a $30,000 grant to provide overnight crisis accommodation and ongoing support for homeless men aged over 18.
- The Outpost received $25,000 to meet the immediate needs of those experiencing crisis circumstances including the homeless through the provision of meals and material aid.
- UnitingCare Geelong received a $30,000 grant to provide housing assistance to those who are homeless or at risk of homelessness.
In 2016 the Give Where You Live Foundation will also continue to support Barwon Child, Youth & Family and their work on The Geelong Project. The Geelong Project (TGP) aims to reduce youth homelessness and increase education attainment across the greater Geelong area. TGP achieves this by implementing an early intervention program. A 2 year $140,000 Innovation Grant from the Give Where You Live Foundation has allowed the project to employ a ‘Strengthening Families Officer’ to work with students and families to address the emerging risks effecting stability at home and school. This is a crucial role in ensuring students and families with emerging risks of homelessness and school disengagement are identified and supported, with focus on students in key transition phases. Read more about The Geelong Project here.
The issue of youth homeless has also been identified by the ENGAGE program as its focus for this year. ENGAGE is a partnership program of the Give Where You Live Foundation, Barwon Child, Youth & Family and Gforce Employment Solutions. The program educates and empowers young people aged 15-25 years in our region to effect positive change through the opportunity to make grants to issues important to them. This year’s ENGAGE participants will be seeking small grant applications from organisations that can impact some of the effects of youth homelessness including mental illness, the stigma associated with youth homelessness, access to medical services, nutritional food and/or hygiene, the lack of accommodation and social disconnection/isolation.