THE popularity of the recent homeless awareness sleepout in Orange shows there is a need for it to happen more often, according to one of the event’s organisers.
The sleepout was held at the Salvation Army Hall as part of National Homeless Awareness Week.
One of Mission Australia’s coordinators for the event Sam Nelson said about 30 people attended the early part of the sleepout last Friday, however, he was not concerned that many people didn’t sleep over in the hall.
“It can be a bit different to stay in a place with other people,” he said.
An afternoon drop-in session was well attended, with about 80 people making use of the free services and information on hand.
Free haircuts, waxing, toiletries, food and clothing was on offer, along with information by several of the city’s service providers.
Mr Nelson said the number of homeless people in Orange was underrepresented in the 2011 Census.
Census data stated 178 people were homeless in the Orange area, however, Mr Nelson believed the figure was closer to 300.
“It’s a big thing for people to come to our door and say ‘I’m homeless’,” he said.
As times get tougher financially more people are becoming homeless, he said.
“An increase in prices puts an extra strain on the home, I think we get a lot of family break-ups due to that reason,” he said.
“[Housing] affordability is enough to send people out on the street.”
Mission Australia Homeless Action Plan case manager Angela Brown said there was a lot of help out there for people experiencing financial difficulties.
“People should access services before the problem happens. There are lots of family support services that can help you for free,” she said.
“If we can work with them and change the cycle, we can point them in another direction.”