AS YOUR baby shivers against the cold and the shadows grow closer the realisation of being homeless worsens.
This is the very real situation for many in Leeton, with the town’s Salvation Army at pains to make residents realise homelessness is an issue in the shire.
One young mother and her baby that had slept in Mountford Park for the night have now been assisted by the organisation and the Murrumbidgee Accommodation and Housing Service.
That initiative is part of the Salvation Army, with program manager Michelle Kilgower explaining homelessness was a real issue in the region.
She said there were many that often had a tent on the river, couch surfed at friends places and even slept in vehicles.
“Homelessness (in regional areas) is becoming not quite as hidden as it once was,” Ms Kilgower said.
“In saying that, it still isn’t like in Sydney or Melbourne where you walk through a park and you see people sleeping there, but it is certainly an issue that happens here whether you see it or not.
“We work across Griffith, Leeton and others … what we are seeing is the working homeless now becoming an issue. People with jobs, but the rental crisis is so big.”
Other issues such as family problems, drug and alcohol addiction, mental health issues and unemployment are all contributing factors to homelessness.
“There is no one cause … there’s an absolute range of things,” Ms Kilgower said.
“People come to us and they have very complex issues. The thing to remember is it’s a no wrong door. You’ll come here and you’ll get help that you need.
“We provide a whole range of services … we work to assist with alternate accommodation, helping to set goals to get out of these situations and we work in with other services.” Ms Kilgower said it was important to seek help and not be ashamed. “Our services are here to help,” she said.
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