The Homeless Hub Shoalhaven finally sees hope for those living rough in the Shoalhaven as the community have united to provide those without a home a place of refuge.
The Wesley Centre on Berry Street in Nowra is opening its doors to the homeless community in light of their eviction from the Nowra Showground in August last year. Since then, their situation has worsened. Rather than living in an area protected from the elements they were forced to move into the bushland or onto the cliff where the weather is more prevalent.
Since the publication of the ABC article earlier this year discussing the rising number of homeless people in the Shoalhaven, the council has joined the efforts of the church alongside other organisations involved to find a solution to this problem.
The manager of the Homeless Hub Shoalhaven Kerri Snowden estimates that there are around 157 homeless people that have used their service since July last year. Many people who are living rough however do not come forward to utilise such services, thus the estimates for the entire community are unknown but are assumed to be much higher. Kerri also stated that they have eight people on average coming into their facility every day where they can access showers, food, toiletries and other basic necessities.
“We’ve been around for two years now and homelessness is one constant battle in the Shoalhaven but it’s finally blowing up… churches have been a big help”
Kerri believes that this is a vital step in the right direction as their service alone cannot provide for the whole homeless community. Whilst there are the vacant Fiorenzo apartments in Huskisson Kerri stated that the Shoalhaven would not be able to follow in the lead of The Addison Project in Sydney due to “lack of funds and transport in the area”.
This project plans to open up the Addison Hotel to 42 vulnerable youth as a place of security, cleanliness, warmth and dignity in Sydney.
Kerri stated that there is a motel in Nowra that is used for women survivors of domestic violence who need a place of safety however, there have been no other facilities used for other vulnerable people without a home. The Wesley Centre aims to improve the situation in the Shoalhaven and broaden the support system for those in need.
Council Development Coordinator Alan Blackshaw who is involved with the plans for the Centre was unavailable for comment.
If you are homeless or need to contact the Homeless Hub Shoalhaven call 4423 2804 or visit their facility at 27 Junction St Nowra NSW 2540.