More Hunter businesses and organisations have pledged to end homelessness in the region.
The Newcastle and Hunter Ending Homelessness Pledge had 20 signatories when it was launched in late April. That number has more than tripled to 64.
One of the more recent organisations to sign up, Allambi Care has produced a short video to educate organisations, businesses and the community about homelessness.
Allambi Care provides specialist homelessness support as part of its broader range of community support services. Its Director of Partnerships, Engagement and Innovation, Steve Graham said Allambi Care wanted to contribute beyond its own organisation and encourage more businesses and organisations to sign the pledge.
“As well as dispelling some of the key myths about homelessness, the video also recognises many of the founding signatories to the pledge for inspiring others to sign up,” Steve said.
“The video reminds people that homelessness is not a defining identity, it is an event in a person’s life that has a cause and a solution.”
The video features the mayors of Newcastle, Maitland, Cessnock and Lake Macquarie councils as well as teams from organisations including Hunter Water, Sparke Helmore, Beyond Bank, Castle Employment Services, Pegasus and Compass Housing.
The pledge is an initiative of the region’s Big Ideas Homelessness Network. Those signing the pledge are required to think about ways they can take action to reduce homelessness, assist people who are experiencing it and to be conscious that their own activities are not contributing to it. Every year they will be asked to renew their pledge and report on what they have achieved.
Network Chair, Professor David Adamson from Compass Housing, said homelessness has become the clearest expression of inequality and poverty in Australia. David said eradicating poverty cannot be achieved without eradicating homelessness.
He praised Allambi Care for its commitment and support and encouraged other organisations and individuals to follow their lead.
“Every business, agency and resident has a stake in preventing homelessness and supporting people who experience homelessness,” David said.
“We are seeing pledge taking organisations look at their policies and activities to ensure they’re not contributing to people’s homelessness as well as what they can do to advocate for the end of homelessness.”
He said the pledge is an important first step to enlist and embed support from a broader range of the community not just those servicing people experiencing homelessness. It has been used effectively in other overseas cities including in Canada, the USA, Wales and Scotland.
The national Everybody’s Home five-point plan to fix Australia’s housing system calls for action to end homelessness by 2030. The latest 2016 Census figures, released by the ABS in March, show homelessness rates are on the rise, up 12% in the Hunter since the last Census.
IMAGE | Allambi staff pledge to help end homelessness
The Big Ideas Homelessness Network is a collaborative steering group made up of representatives from the community and agencies who have an interest in ending homelessness. It is facilitated by Compass Housing and meets bi-monthly to share information, ideas and resources.