Mid-Western Regional councillor Percy Thompson has called on council to investigate the possibility of providing accommodation for homeless people in the region.
“There are a number of homeless people in the region, and as a government body I believe we have the responsibility to assist these people in need,” Cr Thompson said in his notice of motion to council.
General manager, Brad Cam said for the 2015/16 financial year, council increased its contribution to crisis accommodation to $85,000 per year.
“This contribution is being provided through a partnership with Barnardos and Housing Plus and is available to be used to combat crisis accommodation situations such as homelessness and enabling individuals and families to leave situations of family violence,” Mr Cam said.
“There may be further initiatives that council could consider supporting through financial assistance applications or as part of future budget deliberations.”
During Homelessness Prevention Week (August 3-9), Barnardos Mudgee acting program manager Kate Cormie told the Guardian local services had been stretched.
“The numbers are pretty hard to gauge in the local area but from what we see there is a lot of couch-surfing,” Ms Cormie said.
“And I know that in the nine months that the homelessness service has been operating here we exceeded the 12-month contract in nine months.”
Ms Cormie said that there is no typical demographic that is most susceptible to becoming homeless and that the usual causes affect a range of people.
“As far as age goes it’s across the board, we’ve seen from 12 through to 60 year olds,” she said.
“The biggest causes are domestic and family violence often brought on by alcohol and drug abuse, as well as mental health issues.”
The matter will be discussed at council next ordinary meeting on Wednesday.
(This article was first published in the Mudgee Guardian and was written by Elle Watson.)