Homelessness rises 12 per cent in the Hunter across 2011-16, according to census

By , 17/12/2018 16:21

When there is no place called home: 12 per cent rise in homelessness Cameron Blundell didn’t know where he was going to spend the night and was searching for a place to stay. Then Our Backyard at Lake Macquarie stepped in. Picture by Simone De Peak
苏州美甲

Cameron Blundell didn’t know where he was going to spend the night and was searching for a place to stay. Then Our Backyard at Lake Macquarie stepped in. Picture by Simone De Peak

Cameron Blundell didn’t know where he was going to spend the night and was searching for a place to stay. Then Our Backyard at Lake Macquarie stepped in. Picture by Simone De Peak

TweetFacebookThree years ago, Cameron Blundellowned a successful jumping-castle business.

On a good, he says, he could earn about$2000 a day.

Now he’s homeless.

On Thursday, hedidn’t know where he was going to spend the nightand wassearching for a place to stay.

“My head was spinning to the point of having massive anxiety attacks” he said.

“The stress was getting to the point where I was going to have a breakdown.”

Mr Blundell’s situation is one faced bya growing number of peopleacrossthe Hunter.

Homelessness in the regiongrew by 12 per cent from 2011-2016,with 1747sleeping rough during the last census.

The n Bureau of Statisticsreleasedits homelessness estimates this week, derived from the 2016 Census of Population and Housing.

PLACE TO STAY: Macquarie Care’s Megan Melksham, left, and Abby Mills with Cameron Blundell in the Our Backyard kitchen. Picture: Simone De Peak

They show anincrease across the country, revealing50people in every 10000 are now homeless.

There were 116,427people in classified as homeless, and the homelessness rate grewby 27 per centin NSW from 2011 to2016.

The Hunter’s1747 homeless liftedfrom 1559 in 2011, including797 in Newcastle – up from652 in 2011.

Lake Macquarie remained steady, recording a slightdecreasefrom 411 in 2011, to 403 in 2016.

The ABS homeless classificationsinclude peoplestaying in:boarding houses;temporary lodging;supported accommodation;improvised dwellings, tents or sleeping out, orliving temporarily in other householdsor in ‘severely’ crowded dwellings.

Mr Blundell, 46, found the Our Backyard homeless program run in Lake Macquarie.

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Sleep-out fundraiser to help the Hunter’s homelessHelping the homeless with functional careWhen your car is your home“If I didn’t find these guys, I don’t know where I’d be at,” he said onThursday evening.

They offer “crisis” accommodationto anyone sleeping rough in a car –a place for people to park their vehicleon a secure property with showersand kitchen facilities.

“It’s just been a big weight taken off my shoulders,” Mr Blundell said. “To how I felt three hours agoto how I feel now, it’s totally different.”

Trying to get back on his feet, Mr Blundell saysfinding a place to stayis vital to maintainmental well-being.

“It just means such a difference;fromhaving nothing to having somebody that cares. I was feeling like I’d dug that hole so deep, I wasn’t going toget out of it this time. This place gave me that little step up to get out of that hole.

“I would be on the side of the road tonight and it’s not nice waiting for that knock from the police. When you’re on the side of the road, you’re never safe.”

His thoughts were shared by Rebecca Bosworth, 31.

“It’s hard,” she said of living out of her car.

“Having your car broken into and things stolen from you. A place like this is really important.

“There’s nothing else out there like it.”

Compass Housing Services, a not-for-profit organisation who providea range of housing options, are pushing for a nationalhousing plan.

“There are many reasons why people are homeless, not just a lack of houses,” Compass knowledge manager Professor David Adamsonsaid.

“This means we need a plan using a combination of evidence based strategies.”

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