More than 30 people who had been sleeping rough in a tent city at Woy Woy Oval or on the waterfront reserve, nearby parks and laneways, have moved into secure housing in the last few weeks.
St Vinnies at Woy Woy worked with the State Government departments in charge of social housing and joined forces with Baptist Care and Catholic Care’s Mary Mac in Woy Woy to tackle the problem.
Woy Woy Vinnies client support officer Ms Nikki Willmette said there had been a lot of tears as homeless people had found a place to call home.
The major message from these people had been a “thank you” for not judging them.
Ms Willmette said first the people were offered temporary accommodation and during that time, the services worked with them.
Barriers that needed overcoming were lack of identification that often happened when someone became homeless, debt problems, drug and alcohol issues and mental health.
Ms Willmette said the only department that hadn’t come on board to help was the department of mental health which said it was operating at full capacity.
After weeks in temporary accommodation about 30 people have now moved into either private rental, share accommodation or social housing.
Statistics show the current waiting time for a one-bedroom or 4 or bedroom social housing property in Gosford and Woy Woy is more than 10 years.
For homes with two to three bedrooms, it is a five to 10 year wait.
Ms Willmette said Vinnies offered support to people living in poverty and at risk of homelessness through various local shops and services.
“People seeking support are welcome to drop into our shops to access referrals to services, as well as vouchers for clothes and furniture,” she said.
Vinnies Shops are at Woy Woy and Umina Beach.
Media Release, 10 Oct 2019
Interview (Merilyn Vale), 24 Oct, 2019
Nikki Willmette, Vinnies