The issue has grown in our region over the last decade—in part because of the increase in housing and rental prices, damage from the June 2021 storms, as well as COVID-19 restrictions and related job loss.
The majority of people experiencing homelessness live in emergency accommodation, temporarily stay with friends (couch surf) or live in rooming houses or other over-crowded dwellings.
While it can happen to any of us, most of us will never understand what homelessness feels like.
These are some of the challenges people without stable housing face:
- They constantly search for safe shelter
- They go without food and proper nutrition
- They’re at risk of harassment and physical assault
- They have low employment options
- They may experience ill mental health and low self-esteem
- They’re at high risk of developing substance abuse problems
What’s more—without safe and secure housing, people experiencing homelessness have trouble accessing healthcare, medications and support for any addictions.
That puts them at increasing risk of deteriorating physical and mental health and life expectancy.
Wish you could do something to help?
Our CEO Sue feels the same way.
That’s why she’s taking part in Vinnie’s CEO Sleepout for the third year in a row. This time, she’ll sleep in a cold concrete car park alongside hundreds of CEOS and community and government leaders.
But her discomfort will be nothing compared to what thousands of Australians—and hundreds of people in the Yarra Ranges—experience most nights. She won’t be in danger. Her stomach won’t pang with hunger pains. And she’ll have a warm shower to look forward to when she gets home.
The Sleepout is designed to raise awareness and funding for essential services for Australians experiencing homelessness. Anyone can sponsor Sue’s sleepout. If you’re able to give, please do. Every little bit truly helps.
Your money will provide someone with food and safe shelter and access to programs that help them break the cycle of homelessness.
Are you—or is someone you know—experiencing or at risk of homelessness?
Inspiro provides low-cost health, addiction and support services to people at risk of homelessness in the Yarra Ranges. We can link you to other fantastic services in the area.
Please reach out to us if you or someone you know needs a helping hand.
You can also contact the following local supports:
- Dandenong Ranges Emergency Relief Service (DRERS)
- Holy Fools (based in Montrose)
- The Salvation Army
- Uniting Care Harrison (based in Wantirna South)
- Anchor (servicing the Yarra Ranges shire)
You can also visit AskIzzy to find services nearby that you need right away.
Answering your FAQs about homelessness
Why do people experience homelessness?
Anyone can find themselves experiencing homeless. Young people. Older people. Families with children. Over 161,000 Australians experience homelessness on any given night.
Generally, the leading cause of homelessness is family and domestic violence, followed closely by financial issues and rising rent and utility prices.
Women over 55 are one of the fastest growing groups experiencing homelessness. That’s down to factors including marriage break down, widowhood and domestic violence.
Why can’t homeless people just get a job?
Most people without secure housing spend their time scrounging for the basics—food and safe shelter.
As you can imagine, when that’s your focus, it’s hard to find and afford the clean clothes, shoes and personal hygiene and grooming items you need to present your best at an interview—let alone create a resume or access transportation and a stable phone number.
Will people experiencing homelessness spend the money you give them on drugs and alcohol?
There’s a common misconception that all people experiencing homelessness are addicts. But that’s not the case.
Of the segment that struggles with drug and alcohol use, some may become homeless because of an untreated addiction, while others use drugs to cope with day to day life.
The person you give money may also spend it on clothes, food for themselves or their pet, emergency shelter or at a laundry mat. Ultimately, it’s up to you whether you give money to someone you come across.
If you want to help but don’t want to give money to individuals on the street, there are many organisations who’d appreciate your donation so they can help make a difference on the ground level—like Vinnies