homeless connect - darwin

Wednesday 7 April 2010 - World Health Day - Water Garden’s Jingili

Darwin City Council in partnership with the community services sector proudly hosted the Northern Territory’s inaugural Homeless Connect event held on World Health Day, Wednesday 7 April 2010.

The Darwin Homeless Connect event was dedicated to the provision of a wide range of health, wellbeing and support services in one place for people who are homeless or without shelter in the Darwin area by removing barriers of access and through strong partnerships.

Locally some 58 community service providers, agencies, community groups, businesses and government agencies participated in Darwin Homeless Connect which was held in the balmy outdoors at the Jingili Water Gardens.

Onsite offerings included a very busy Op Shop, massage therapy, pedicures, hairdressing services, dental services, sexual health, cancer screening and vaccinations and a delicious food court provided by the Knock About Chefs programs - St Vincent de Paul, Mission Australia, the Toga Group and Salvation Army. Live music and an open mic, an arts park with portrait photography, t-shirt designing, 'direct from connect' postcard service and Arts In The Grass made for a hive of activity right throughout the event.

Lots of children's activities, library services, swag distribution of more than 150 swags, Centrelink services, return to country connections and much more all served to make the day dynamic and different!

“It was an incredible day - not only does the event raise the profile of the issue of homelessness, it also identifies ways in which the community and governments can work together to provide assistance and support,” Lord Mayor Graeme Sawyer said. “Next year we aim to build on the success of this event and provide and connect homeless people and people without shelter with the services and help they need.”

The event, which coincided with World Health Day, followed the release of the Federal Government’s State of Australian Cities Report in March that found Darwin has the highest rate of homelessness in the country. It revealed more than 276 people in every 10,000 are homeless in the laid-back Northern Capital – a rate 39 times higher than Sydney.

The next Homeless Connect is being programmed for 2011.  More details coming soon.

Lord Mayor Graeme Sawyer

“It’s about bringing people together in a practical and genuine way. With Darwin coming on board, Homeless Connect will soon be a national initiative and the fact that every state and territory has homeless populations as the norm, is an important issue that should not go unnoticed.”


what’s the homeless story in Darwin?

The Homeless Connect Darwin event is underpinned by partnerships and aims to cater to what is at times a very mobile population as people travel to urban areas from regional communities to access essential services, shops, medical facilities, attend to cultural matters and visit family. Housing affordability, housing stress and a real lack of affordable accommodation options is a growing issue at the local level as families and individuals compete for access to limited appropriate and affordable housing stock and temporary options.

The number of people who are homeless in the NT on any one night is estimated at 4,785 people (Census of Population & Housing, 2006). Just as each state and territory is different with unique characteristics, Darwin, as Australia’s most northern capital has a higher than national average youth population, Indigenous population and covers a huge geographic expanse.

Homelessness is a broad term often described as either primary, secondary or tertiary homelessness. While primary homelessness may mean living on the streets, sleeping rough, squatting in disused buildings, parks or using temporary shelter, many people also experience secondary or tertiary homelessness as a lack of stable accommodation and find themselves forced to move frequently between emergency accommodation, other people’s couches and short-term accommodation options such as backpacker facilities. Whatever the term, responding to homelessness in a practical way through Homeless Connect Darwin can help forge community connections and supports with people who are homeless or without shelter – supports that might otherwise be unknown.

For more information on homelessness visit www.ntshelter.org.au




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