Mission Australia’s Winter Safe Homes campaign has launched to destigmatise homelessness and its causes and raise much-needed funds for people and families who are homeless through the charity’s homelessness programs and services.

The charity is appealing to the public for donations while continuing to call for more social and affordable homes to help support and prevent the increasing numbers of people being pushed into homelessness.

Mission Australia’s CEO Sharon Callister said: “There remains a serious shortage of social and affordable housing, among rising living and rental costs as well as challenges like domestic and family violence, mental health concerns and natural disasters. It’s a pressure cooker that’s causing Australia’s homelessness crisis to escalate. People who have never been homeless in their lives are facing immense hardship and are reaching out for help.”

Sharing real stories of everyday people who have become homeless in Australia, the campaign highlights that every hour, 3,000 people in Australia seek help from homelessness services like those provided by Mission Australia (AIHW 2022). That’s 3,000 Australians. 3,000 stories. Every hour.

These are some real stories behind these numbers featured in the campaign:

Eight-year-old Ruby* who has been living in a garage because her Dad, Justin* can’t afford to keep up with the ongoing rent increases.

Single mum Laura* and her son Ollie*, who were forced to sleep in their car after escaping a violent partner.

Donna*, whose home was lost when a flood destroyed her regional community.

It comes as recently released Australian Bureau of Statistics data from the 2021 Census shows more than 122,000 people are homeless in Australia; an increase of 5.2% since the 2016 Census. Most are facing hidden homelessness, which means they’re staying in severely overcrowded dwellings, refuges, boarding houses, or temporarily living with friends or family.

As a Christian charity focussed on ending homelessness in Australia and ensuring people and communities in need can thrive, Ms Callister says urgent help is needed to support and stop the growing number of people being pushed into homelessness, particularly ‘hidden homelessness’.

“We know from our experience and the data that people and families who are homeless are mostly hidden from plain sight, and they often don’t see themselves as being homeless, struggling in silence. They are less likely to be on the streets, and far more likely to be facing hidden homelessness, living transient lives in insecure living conditions like a garage, couch surfing, in an overcrowded dwelling, or temporarily in places like refuges or boarding houses,” said Ms Callister.

Ms Callister said people can help Australians to find a safe home this winter and support the vital work of Mission Australia’s frontline staff by donating to the charity’s winter appeal.

“Most of us agree that everyone deserves a safe place to call home.

“Now more than ever, more support is needed. We hope people see our winter campaign and start to rethink their perceptions and understanding of homelessness and understand that it happens to people that we know like our families, colleagues, friends or neighbours.

“We hope those who can, consider donating to us to give a sense of hope to people facing tough times and support the crucial work our frontline staff do daily to help the growing number of women, men and children who are homeless in Australia.

“Mission Australia wants to help as many people facing tough times as we can to find a safe home and ensure they receive the compassionate, professional support they need.

“Every dollar contributes to ending homelessness. Donations go towards early intervention to prevent homelessness, case management with wraparound support to break the cycle of homelessness, as well as specialised support such as for people with mental health concerns or who are escaping domestic violence, and of course help to find people a safe home.”

Ms Callister added, “Our frontline workers across the country are telling us the housing situation is the worst they have seen it. There’s simply not enough affordable and appropriate housing for everyone who needs it.

“That’s why Mission Australia also continues to call for greater investment to provide more new social and affordable housing beyond the current commitments. This would go a long way towards helping ensure everyone has a safe, secure home and addressing Australia’s housing emergency.”

Mission Australia is one of Australia’s largest charities with more than 160 years of practical and proven experience working with Australians in need. The Christian homelessness charity has more than 2,200 staff and 465 programs and services, and invests in housing, services and programs to help end homelessness in Australia and ensure people and communities in need can thrive.

Help find them a safe home. Please donate now: missionaustralia.com.au/helpthiswinter or phone 1800 88 88 68.
Television commercial available here.

*Names and images changed to protect the identity of the people Mission Australia helps

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*Names and images have been changed to protect the identities of the people Mission Australia helped.

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