Only around 6% of homeless people actually live on park benches and under bridges.
Only around 6% of homeless people actually live on park benches and under bridges. Peter Holt

Homelessness an ‘invisible problem’ in the Maranoa

THE stereotype surrounding homelessness might involve sleeping under a bridge or in a car.

But did you know only 6% of homeless people in Australia actually live like that?

Anglicare Roma is determined to help break down the myths of homelessness with their annual Winter Sleepout this month.

The organisation will be running the sleepout, where community members sleep rough outside St Paul’s Anglican Church on Bungil St on July 22 with the hope of raising awareness around the issue and what it actually looks like.

Anglicare support worker Toni Smith said homelessness was an invisible issues in the Maranoa, with most people unaware of how many people were without stable accommodation.

“Here, you see it in a different context – it’s about couch-surfing or living in crisis housing,” she said.

“It’s everyday people that are affected and you can be homeless by simply losing your mortgage.

“I know families that have to move in with other family members because they have nowhere to go – that’s a form of homelessness.”

Nearly 40% of people classified as homeless in Australia live in crowded shelters, according to Ms Smith.

“Only about 6% of homeless people are sleeping in improvised housing, or sleeping rough,” she said.

Anglicare is planning on some creative ‘advertising’ for the event in the coming week, which will be visible in the Roma CBD.

Horizon Housing is supporting the event, with Maranoa Regional Manager Elise Waugh adamant the event could help break some of the ‘stigmas’ associated with homelessness.

“It can affect absolutely anybody and there’s still that stigma that if you are in affordable housing, you are part of some vicious cycle,” she said.

“But we’re trying to break that idea down and (let people know) there is housing available and there’s no shame in needing it.

“I’ve had clients in the past where they don’t want to be seen to go into community housing because they think people will view them differently.”

For more information, phone Anglicare on 4620 4000.


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