Support for locals in need highlighted for National Homelessness Week

Local homelessness support groups have received a generous donation thanks to the Bonner Winter Essentials Appeal to help them continue their great work helping vulnerable locals.

Federal Member for Bonner Ross Vasta MP was joined by the Assistant Minister for Community Housing, Homelessness and Community Services Luke Howarth on Friday to deliver the donated goods as part of National Homelessness Week.

Over the past six weeks Mr Vasta has been collecting blankets, non-perishables and hygiene products to support local organisations that do so much for the community.

“The Morrison government provides more than $1.5 billion per year to states and territories through the National Housing and Homelessness agreement, I am always committed to going the extra mile to help local families, which is why I started the Bonner Winter Essentials Drive.

“On any given night in my electorate of Bonner there’s more than 360 locals experiencing homelessness and as our community continues to deal with the coronavirus pandemic, I wanted to extend an extra helping hand to as many locals as possible,” Mr Vasta said.

Mr Vasta said delivering the donated goods with Assistant Minister Howarth provided a great opportunity to hear from local frontline organisations and gives them the chance to speak directly to the Assistant Minister about their experiences during the pandemic.

Assistant Minister Howarth said National Homelessness Week was an opportunity for all Australians to reflect on the hardships faced by members of the community.

“Homelessness can affect anyone and any time and has a profound impact on those who experience it,” Assistant Minister Howarth said.

“It’s important to remember that Homelessness isn’t just rough sleepers on the street, it can often be hidden, and the majority of Australia’s homelessness is made up of people living in boarding houses, couch surfing or living in overcrowded homes.

“While state and territory governments have primary responsibility for housing and homelessness, the Morrison Government provides $6 billion each year to assist people to pay their rent and improve housing and homelessness outcomes in Australia.

“The Government is also investing up to $118 million over five years through the Reconnect program to support people aged 12 to 18 years (or 12 to 21 years for newly-arrived youth) who are homeless, or at risk of homelessness, and their families.

“The Reconnect program helps more than 1,500 young Queenslanders each year to stay at school, improve relationships with their family and remain connected with their community and often prevents young people from entering into homelessness,” Assistant Minister Howarth said.

Assistant Minister Howarth said during National Homelessness Week it’s important for people to understand that each one of us can make a difference by getting involved and supporting local community organisations, just as Mr Vasta had done through the Bonner Winter Essentials Drive.

“Donating blankets, food or clothing or volunteering your time can make a difference to someone who is doing it tough.”