Housing and homelessness are ongoing issues for our community.
Sadly, since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic and subsequent lockdowns, homelessness as a social issue was thrown into stark relief. We saw that those suffering housing instability were at a greater risk of succumbing to public health issues: namely COVID-19.
Positively, the NSW government has increased funding for housing services, including the Together Home project, as a means to bridge these gaps in homelessness and housing issues. However, increased demand on housing services has resulted in a diminished capability to address current tenants’ concerns in a timely manner.
Many families who attend the GBB are tenants of the public housing sector. We know that the best way to support children is to support their closest network: their family. This is why the Family Support Program has been helping to advocate for our families facing public housing challenges during this difficult time.
Through this program, we have been able to reach out to Housing to highlight our families’ concerns:
- Not enough bedrooms for family members
- Pushing forward long-awaited housing transfers
- Having routine maintenance issues resolved
In the past month, we have celebrated with our families as they have been offered housing options that are adequate for their family’s needs and had basic repairs around the home completed. It has been empowering for families to have their voices heard by the housing system that is such a big part of their lives.
On 12th August 2021, NSW’s Chief Psychiatrist Dr Murray Wright said that residents in lockdown are going through “the most sustained and serious stress that many of us are going to face in our lifetimes”. This stress of lockdown, on top of everyday challenges such as housing instability, can be incredibly hard for a person to cope with. It can be difficult to know how to help those in need.
However, the solution can be simple.
Maintaining connection to those in our community is one of the most powerful things we can all do to make a difference in times like this. That’s why our Family Support Program has seen an increased need for support and social connection from all of our families.
Here are a few simple ideas you can do to help those around you:
- Check in on your neighbours. Remember that their experience and challenges may be different to yours\
- Cook meals for someone in need in your community
- Volunteer on the Friends for Good helpline and help combat loneliness in the community
- Give a helping hand to families facing challenges by supporting The Girls & Boys Brigade’s Family Support Program
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