It started with some milk crates, a BMX bike and a portable baby cot. But it wasn’t unusual at first.
Those doing it tough have long been known to spend the night behind the Uniting Church in Civic, just a few steps away from the church’s early morning centre – and free breakfast menu.
Then, late last year, the numbers on the pavement shot up and a “semi-permanent camp” of people appeared. The church could hear them late into the night. They weren’t packing up their trolleys and moving on each morning as they used to.
For the first time, safety concerns forced the church to call in police to ask the group to move on, and most since have.
But, for staff at the support centre, the camp is a symptom of Canberra’s “growing” problem with homelessness.