Hope through homes: a day with Centacare’s Homelessness And Advocacy Team

Early on a cold July morning, the staff of the Homelessness And Advocacy Team (HAAT) unit of Centacare gather around a table to discuss the upcoming day’s cases. A tin of chocolates sits in the middle of the group. Tea and coffee is shared.

There is no ‘typical’ day for the unit, says Donna Bogdanovski, the coordinator of Homelessness Support and Advocacy Services

“It depends on referrals: we might be picking up from the day before; we might get them from families, from health services, from crisis accommodation services. The support is more than just around housing – it’s housing and security.”

Ballarat has a growing homelessness and emergency housing crisis. It’s more than the people you think you see on the street living rough.

It’s the elderly forced from their homes by rising costs and static pensions. The numbers of people aged over 70 living on friend’s lounges and in emergency accommodation has risen alarmingly.

It’s young couples with equally young children seeking an affordable rental in Ballarat because they’ve been forced from Melbourne’s spiralling housing market, to find a cruelly similar situation here.

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Source: The Courier