”The rate of homelessness is growing in our region and across Australia. In NSW, it has risen by 20 per cent since 2006. It is an issue that affects us all and there are countless stories of people who find themselves homeless who never in their wildest dreams thought that they would be. People experiencing homelessness are not always rough sleeping on the streets. Homelessness includes people living in overcrowded dwellings, supported accommodation, boarding houses, tents and couch surfing.
There are many in our region assisting people experiencing homelessness; non-government organisations, church groups, academics, Government agencies and departments. We need to do more than service homelessness, we need to end it."
Professor Dave Adamson OBE
Research and Development Manager, Compass Housing Services
Hunter Homeless Connect Day
Compass Housing has a strong commitment to supporting the homelessness sector and for the past six years, we have provided a coordinator for the annual Hunter Homeless Connect Day which is held each year in Newcastle by the Hunter Homeless Connect Inc charity. The day links people experiencing homelessness, doing it tough and at risk of homelessness to vital services such as accommodation and housing providers, health and wellbeing, legal and financial assistance, employment and study. It’s a community coalition of government and non-government services and volunteers with in-kind and financial support from organisations, community partners and individuals across the Hunter.
Compass also partnered with Hunter Homeless Connect Inc in the publication of a book, My Connections Home –Journeys through homelessness in 2017. The book explores the reality of homelessness and includes nine emotion charged profiles of formerly homeless Hunter residents, told in their own words. Each story details the circumstances that led their narrators into their homelessness, the endless struggles of living without a home, and most importantly the resilience and courage that allowed them to come out the other side. The book was launched by His Excellency General The Honourable David Hurley AC DSC (Ret’d), Governor of New South Wales at Hunter TAFE, Hamilton Campus on Wednesday 22nd March 2017. All proceeds from sale of the book go to Hunter Homeless Connect Inc.
In March 2017, Compass hosted an event at City Hall in Newcastle; Ending Homelessness: The Big Ideas, where members of the community came together to hear the following speakers present on various existing concepts in ending homelessness. Links to individual presentations can be found by clicking on the names below.
- Professor David Adamson OBE - Compass Housing
- Sonya Keep - CEO, Common Ground Qld
- Belinda McDaid - Special Projects Manager, Matthew Talbot Homelessness Service (St Vincent de Paul) - Newcastle Registry Week
- Brad Webb - Chair, Hunter Foyer Project
- Michael Neilson & John Cross - City Sleep Safe
- Mark Weber - This Way Home
- Dr Jennifer Waterhouse - Newcastle University
Since then, a community collaborative steering group (The Big Ideas Homelessness Network) has been formed and meets regularly to support some of these concepts and continue the momentum of ending homelessness in our region.