TEMPERATURES have been hovering around sub zero degrees overnight over the past few weeks in Ballarat. Imagine what this would be like if you were homeless and sleeping rough (on the streets or in a car). Imagine what it would be like not to be able to have a hot meal. Imagine what it would be like to see your children trying to do their homework in the back of a car. Imagine sleeping in a tent overnight with your family without heating. Homelessness week this year ran from 3rd August – 7th August 2015.
The theme this year is ‘stepping up to homelessness’. CAFS over the past few months have attended Secondary and Primary schools in an effort to raise awareness of homelessness. Students have participated in educational sessions and information about homelessness and have been asked to contribute with the homelessness week by providing their footprints and either words or images of what homelessness means to them.
These footprints have been displayed in the foyer at CAFS with approximately 400 footprints collected, which equates to around the amount of people that sleep rough in Ballarat on any given night. Anyone can be affected by homelessness. Factors which impact upon a person becoming homeless are: Family violence, Relationship breakdown, Family conflict, Housing affordability, Loss of employment, Gambling, Financial issues, Mental Health issues, Health issues, Drug and Alcohol dependencies. The real number of homelessness is not accurate as some people who don’t seek support or don’t realise they are homeless (especially youth who couch surf from one friend to the other). The face of homelessness can be a child, a single parent, an elderly person/couple, a person with a disability. It could be someone in your family – Lets ‘STEP UP’ to end homelessness. Early intervention is the best prevention. If you or anyone you know is facing homelessness please contact CAFS and ask to speak to a housing support worker on 5337 3333 (Ballarat) 5367 9900 (Bacchus Marsh) 5348 8200 (Daylesford).