Domestic and family violence case worker Carol O’Reilly and Acting Program Manager - Mudgee Programs Kate Cormie.

Barnardos Mudgee are using Homelessness Prevention Week (August 3-9) to remind locals that the issue does in fact exist in the area with their experiences revealing more than what many people would see.

According to Homelessness Australia on any given night, in Australia, more than 105,000 people won’t have a safe and secure place to call home and more than 254,000 people were assisted by homelessness services last year.

Barnardos Acting Program Manager - Mudgee Programs, Kate Cormie, said that the week is a reminder that homelessness does exist in the local area, to the extent that it stretches their services.

“This week is about raising awareness of the issue and the fact that it does exist locally, you may not see people sleeping in the park but the problem is there,” she said.

“The numbers are pretty hard to gauge in the local area but from what we see there is a lot of couch-surfing.

“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.

“And I think that would be fairly common across Australia, although domestic violence is one of those issues that is getting a lot of attention at the moment and that is encouraging to see that it’s not being swept under the rug as much any more.”

Mudgee Barnardos are holding a free barbecue for Homelessness Prevention Week this Thursday, between 11am and 1pm, in the front yard of their premises at 119 Church Street (opposite the tennis courts).

People in need of help can talk to staff who will be there to provide information.

She added, “the local community has got behind us so well” and that if anyone wants to continue that support for Barnardos they can donate money, non-perishable food, blankets, linen, and furniture, to the charity and it goes a long way to assisting their work in tackling homelessness.

Barnardos also do a lot of work in preventative programs in trying to help people before they become homeless when they are struggling.

For more information call the Barnardos Orange office on 6372 1422.

(This article was first published in the Mudgee Guardian on Thursday, August 6 2015.)