The issue of homelessness and housing stress is on the agenda this week in the Augusta Margaret River shire, coinciding with 2018 National Homelessness Week .
Coordinated by Homelessness Australia as a means of raising awareness of people experiencing homelessness, the issues they face and the action needed to achieve enduring solutions, the week will include a Couch Conversations event from 11am on Saturday 11 August at Margaret River Organic Garden.
This year’s event works to theme of ‘There's Always Something You Can Do’, aims to highlight practical solutions to which ordinary Australians can contribute.
Local homelessness advocacy group Just Home Margaret River will host the local event, with the support of the Shire of Augusta Margaret River’s Affordable Housing and Homelessness Working Group, and with funding provided by Shelter WA.
Working Group member Craig Mathieson encourages any interested community members to attend the event, which will provide a safe and welcoming space for the discussion of issues around accommodation displacement.
“There are members of our community who struggle to find a safe and affordable place to live,” Mr Mathieson said.
“This includes people who are homeless, people who are unemployed, survivors of domestic violence and seasonal workers.
“This event isn’t a cure-all to homeless but we certainly hope that it is a way for people to better understand how homelessness can happen, and consider the wide and varying needs of people living without safe and affordable shelter.”
The free event at the Organic Garden will also offer a shared lunch following the session.
The rate of homelessness in Australia has increased 4.6 per cent over the last five years, with estimates showing 50 homeless persons for every 10,000 people.
Locals wishing to contribute to the homelessness solution can help by promoting local activities and events on social media and their friend networks, donate winter weather gear or food goods to the Margaret River Community Centre between 9am and 1pm, Monday to Friday, or volunteer at the Margaret River Soup Kitchen, the MR Community Centre or Just Home.
If you or someone you know is experiencing homelessness or needs assistance accessing housing contact Just Home’s Katie Gray, 9am-1pm, Mondays, Tuesdays and Thursdays on 0431 150 836.