People walking along Summer Street on Friday were asked a simple question: “potato and leek or smoked ham and lentil?”
Housing Plus, together with staff from Veritas House and the Department of Family and Community Services’ housing division, were giving away free soup to raise awareness of homelessness in the city.
Housing Plus’ community services manager Penny Dordoy said the organisation helped 759 people who were homeless or at risk of homelessness in Orange over 12 months.
Following on from Housing Plus’ lead on Friday, Orange’s Bam Venner supported efforts by donating fresh fruit and bread.
Mr Venner said he was looking to set up his own service to help people without a home.
“A lot of people go cold, a lot of people go hungry. It’s not a good feeling,” he said.
“It’s just good to help people.”
Mr Venner said there are a lot of people who don’t realise there are a large number of people who were homeless and needed help.
Ms Dordoy said those people who were homeless didn’t necessarily find themselves living on the streets.
“They can be couch-surfing, at a friend’s place, motels, or in car parks and not knowing where they’re staying next,” Ms Dordoy said.
She said the six transitional properties offered by Housing Plus used helped, but more were needed.
Ms Dordoy said people were often dealing with multiple crises, including savings spent on health problems, domestic violence, chemical dependencies, gambling or something else.
“They might survive one crisis but then another one might be the reason they have no home,” he said.
To help people escaping domestic violence, the state government has created a new program to subsidise rent.
Ms Dordoy said any extra help for domestic violence was welcome.
“It’s one piece of the puzzle which will help some people,” she said.
“But what we really need here in Orange is a domestic violence crisis shelter that is like a one-stop shop.
“A rental subsidy is fantastic, but we still want to make sure people fleeing domestic violence have a range of support services around them.”