Call-out to support the homeless

Callum HunterSouth Western Times

Bunbury’s community relief bodies have implored the South West community to give generously this Homelessness Week.

According to Bunbury Soup Van treasurer and Apex Bunbury Sleep Out chairwoman Sasha Nicholls, Bunbury’s homelessness situation is more severe than in years gone by, with the soup van having already served as many people to date as the whole of 2018.

“We’re never going to know the extent of homelessness as a whole because there are so many hidden homeless people in the area,” she said.

“Homelessness Week is no real solution to the solution, it just gets people talking about homelessness.

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“By raising awareness and getting people talking about the issue, people come up with ideas and solutions, and that’s where magic happens.”

Even before Homelessness Week started this year, the dignitaries, relief bodies and the community have been trying to ease the burden on the region’s homeless, with recent projects including a new shelter, lockers, donations, appeals and awareness events such as the Apex Bunbury Sleep Out.

Salvation Army regional captain Mark Schatz said that while homelessness was brought to the forefront of people’s minds at this time of year, every week was Homelessness Week for the charity.

“At this time of the year when it’s cold and wet, it becomes more prevalent because clothing gets wet or blankets get wet and so we have to continually restock these people up and get them off the street,” he said.

“With the rising costs of living and rising cost of food across the board, we’re certainly feeling the pinch, but we’re doing the best we can with what we’ve got at the moment.”

Bunbury Intown Centre chairman David Bailey said winter was the hardest time of year for the homeless and agreed with Ms Nicholls there was a rising number of people needing help.

“You only have to get up early in the morning or wander out at night to realise how hard it is in the conditions out there,” he said.

“People need to talk, and to talk among themselves to make it known to politicians that we need to get something done.”

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