What is Connecting the Hunter Program?
Connecting the Hunter is an extension of the successful Hunter Homeless Connect Day event and provides a dignified and practical way for businesses in the community to offer goods and services to people experiencing homelessness, all year round.
Many businesses, individuals and organisations in the community want to help people experiencing homelessness, but don't know how to reach out. Many people experiencing homelessness feel embarrassed and ashamed to ask for food or basic services. Connecting the Hunter will provide an opportunity for businesses in the community to be active participants in responding to homelessness in the Newcastle and Hunter region.
How Does it Work?
Supporting businesses will be provided with Connecting the Hunter coloured decals to place in their shopfront windows and/or website and social media platforms, indicating that they provide practical and free goods/services to people experiencing homelessness. People experiencing homelessness will receive vouchers via referral from specialist homelessness services to be used at these nominated businesses and services to help with their immediate needs.
Why Do we Need This?
We can all be just a few pays away from homelessness. Increasingly homelessness is becoming the reality for people who may have been managing well, but are thrown off course by a relationship breakup, job loss, or death of a loved one.
The latest 2016 census, the Australia Bureau of Statistics (ABS) counted 1,750 people experiencing homelessness in the Hunter region. This was an increase of about 12 per cent on the 2011 figure.
The latest statistics reveal that only 7% of people experiencing homelessness have mental health and substance abuse issues and only 6% are sleeping rough. Many (31%) are escaping domestic violence, housing stress (28%), unemployment and financial (22%) and transitioning from custody (12%). A survey conducted by Hunter TAFE students at the 2016 Hunter Homeless Connect Day event revealed that for the first time, women outnumbered men among those seeking assistance.
This project looks at the big picture and connects the dots.
How Can you Help?
Is your business able to provide any free and practical goods to people experiencing homelessness?
Is your business in a space where people who are experiencing homelessness can charge a phone, heat a meal, use a first aid kit or have a shower?
If you think you can help, we would love to hear from you.
To register to become a member of the Connecting the Hunter program, complete the Application Form online here.
Who's On Board?
This initiative is supported by the Community Sector Banking's 2018 Social Investments Grant Program.
For more information on the Connecting the Hunter program, email us here.