A synergy in purpose saw local affordable housing provider, Compass Housing, partner with a community coalition to deliver the Hunter Homeless Connect Day (HHCD) for 2014.
The HHCD is an annual event delivered by a combination of government and non-government organisations, human and community services and volunteers, without any dedicated grant or funding. It is made possible by in-kind and financial contributions of the services involved, and through community fundraising activities.
Compass Housing undertook to assist in the planning, preparation and delivery of the event through the provision of a HHCD Coordinator, staffed by Lucy Andrews, Compass Housing Project Officer.
“It is estimated that around seven per cent, or almost 2,000 of the 28,000 people homeless in NSW, live in the Hunter,” Lucy said. “Currently there are more than 9,600 people on the housing register in the Hunter region.”
“Every year we see an increase in the number of people accessing the event and we don’t see this year being any different.”
“With an increasing lack of affordable rental accommodation more and more single working parents, low income families and people on government benefits are at risk of homelessness, couch surfing between family and friends and even living out of their cars.”
This year’s event, held on Tuesday, 12 August, saw over a 1000 guests through the door, in excess of 500 blankets and 350 care packs handed out, as well as 100s of cups of coffee, bacon and egg rolls, nachos and sausage and steak sandwiches served.
“This year individuals and businesses have rallied to provide donations of clothing, toiletries and warm blankets for us to hand out on the day, it’s been overwhelming.”
Greg Budworth, Compass Housing CEO, said that the partnership made sense as both organisations share the same social justice values, are strongly networked in the sector, and have a positive profile in the community.
“I met a lot of homeless folk on the day and they were very encouraged by the support, services and the practical benefits provided,” Greg said. “It was one of the most heart-warming events I have witnessed in my 10 years here at Compass.”
“We were keen to give the Hunter Homelessness Connect organisation support for the great work they do, which is often not well-recognised. I think it was the most practical undertaking to donate Lucy’s time. It turned out brilliantly.”
The day saw over 70 Government, non-for-profit, and private sector organisation come together to offer those less fortunate in the Hunter region and opportunity to access them all in a one-stop-shop.