This winter has said to be one of the coldest in decades and being out in the chilly weather would be extra tough if you’ve only got a sleeping bag and a few personal belongings to your name.
Unfortunately, the rising cost of rentals and houses, decline of work opportunities, family and domestic violence, mental health and unexpected life changes are some of the main issues that are causing high rates of homelessness.
Thankfully, there are several charities who recognise these issues and are doing everything they can to help those who are struggling in life.
United Hands of Hope Australia
United Hands of Hope Australia (UHHA) is a newly formed charity which has only started in the last two months.
Founder of United Hands of Hope Anthony Grech has been walking the Gold Coast streets feeding and clothing the homeless and drug addicts for the last four years.
“I have been operating off my own funds… and slowly receiving help from local businesses, friends, the community and some of the people I’ve helped off the street also give back by volunteering their time to our cause,” Mr Grech said.
Over those years Mr Grech has fed more than 10,000 people and clothed more than 6000 people and helped hundreds off the streets.
“[We] first feed and get to know the homeless person to establish a relationship to really figure out how we can best help every individual,” – Anthony Grech, United Hands of Hope Australia
“[We] first feed and get to know the homeless person to establish a relationship to really figure out how we can best help every individual,” he said.
UHHA also provide assistance in attaining IDs, finding jobs and rehabilitation centres and connecting the homeless with third party services who cater for a person’s needs.
“I’ve helped hundreds of them into commendation and reconnect them back to their families then helping them back into the community living a happy healthy life,” Mr Grech said.
Everything that is donated to UHHA from blankets to clothing to food supplies is put to good use.
“Our goal is to set up a hub for UHHA where we can house people, set-up classes and courses that help grow and lift people up into a happy and healthy life,” he said.
Another charity assisting the homeless is Mission Australia’s Missionbeat who help the homeless in Sydney’s CBD, eastern and western suburbs.
For 40 years, Missionbeat vans have patrolled the streets of Sydney offering temporary accommodation, bedding, blankets and other items to keep warm.
Missionbeat team leader Patrick Crawford explained in a statement the recent rain and cold weather this year has been a challenge.
“The dropping temperatures and ongoing rain can and will have a severe impact on their physical and mental wellbeing,” Mr Crawford said.
The Missionbeat patrol teams respond to call outs from welfare checks to connecting people with homelessness and medical services.
“It lets people sleeping rough on the streets, enduring the cold and discomfort know that they are cared for and offers a sense of hope, warmth and community,” he said.
“It lets people sleeping rough on the streets, enduring the cold and discomfort know that they are cared for and offers a sense of hope, warmth and community,” – Patrick Crawford, Missionbeat
NSW is seeing its highest increase in homelessness due to the continuation of rental crisis and shortages of affordable homes.
“On top of the regular patrols, our Missionbeat Case Workers provide support including referral to specialist support, accommodation and housing, while the Aftercare team provides ongoing support to stabilise people into housing and their new community,” Mr Crawford said.
A special mention to the Coffs Harbour community, who will be hosting a Hope For The Homeless Fundraiser on Saturday 23 July.
Feature image: Supplied by United Hands of Hope Australia / Anthony Grech