'Hidden Homeless' Given a Voice at Gold Coast Community Event

05 August 13

The Gold Coast is getting behind Homeless Person's Week (August 5 - 11) with a community event designed to reach out to those who are living on the streets to provide opportunities for safe and affordable accommodation.

The Homeless Connect Event - an initiative of the Gold Coast Homeless Network - will be held on August 7 at Metricon Stadium. It is a free one day event sponsored by Gold Coast-based organisations including major sponsor Horizon Housing (HH).

HH is a not-for-profit charity, which has now become Queensland's largest affordable and community housing provider.

The event will provide a free hot breakfast from 8am - 9am, along with information stalls, entertainment and activities throughout the day - geared towards providing advice to the homeless - or those at risk of homelessness - about how they can reach out for help.

HH Chief Executive Officer Jason Cubit said it was vital for community and affordable housing providers to go out into the community and make people aware of what steps they could take to improve their living situation.

"This year the theme for Homeless Person's Week is 'the Hidden Homeless,' which is fitting because I think many people do not realise that the Gold Coast has more than 3,000 people sleeping rough or at risk of losing their home - it's a growing concern and something that we all need to work together to address," he said.

"To this end, HH has been working closely with Gold Coast Homeless Connect and has been actively involved in creating a formal 'action plan' in partnership with government, non-government and community representatives to tackle homelessness - but we recognise that there is still more to be done.

"HH has been involved with the Homeless Connect event since 2008, and is proud to sponsor an initiative like this which gives housing providers like us the opportunity to continue our current work in the community housing sector and to connect with people on a one-to-one basis, hear their stories and offer advice that is tailored to their needs.

"As a result of our involvement in this event in recent years, we have spoken to people who were homeless who have then become HH tenants, which is really rewarding to see and a testament to the fact that offering a hand up is sometimes all that is needed to transform a person's life.

"Too often it seems that people who find themselves homeless or in severe housing stress are not fully aware of all the avenues that they are able to take to avoid becoming homeless and living on the streets.

"The Gold Coast has a number of organisations that specialise in supporting people facing these difficulties and many of these groups will be present on the day, so it makes it easy for people to explore all of their options."

For more information, please visit www.horizonhousing.com.au or contact (07) 5668 9400.

ENDS

For more information, please contact Sheree De Bono, Promedia on 07 55932 011 or 0421429716 or Liz Fritz, Gold Coast Homelessness Network on 0412 573119.