With ‘hidden homeless’ making the shortlist for Macquarie Dictionary’s 2022 word of the year, homelessness charity Mission Australia is urging the public to vote for it as 2022’s defining word by 28 November, so efforts to end hidden homelessness remain firmly on Australia’s hearts, minds and agenda into the new year.

Mission Australia’s CEO Sharon Callister said: “For ‘hidden homeless’ to make the shortlist for Word of the Year, it’s clear that people care about the increasing number of people in insecure, unsafe and precarious housing situations. While many of us have taken comfort in the safety of our homes throughout the pandemic, not everyone feels so lucky.

“Australians are increasingly aware that many people are homeless (many for the first time in their lives) and more are at increased risk of becoming homeless because of the extraordinary challenges faced in 2022.

“The escalating cost of living, tight and unaffordable rental markets, and destructive floods have added to unacceptable levels of poverty and homelessness in our society, which are further worsened by a severe shortage of social and affordable homes and inadequate rates of income support.

“Many Australians also seem to be aware now, that of the 116,000 or more people who are homeless, most are unseen and hidden from plain sight. The majority aren’t sleeping rough on the streets. They’re more likely to be facing hidden homelessness - living in unsafe or insecure spaces like a car, temporary accommodation, a garage or couch surfing.

“Along with many others, Mission Australia works tirelessly to keep housing and homelessness on the public agenda. So, we ask the community to vote to name ‘hidden homeless’ as Word of the Year, so we can keep up the momentum, action, awareness and compassion on this important issue,” said Ms Callister.

Aligned with this year’s spotlight on ‘hidden homeless’, Mission Australia’s Christmas appeal also highlights the pressures faced by Australia’s hidden homeless with a core message that every person in Australia should have a safe home.

“Mission Australia’s staff, volunteers and supporters are always rising to the challenges that our nation and the people we serve face. We are committed to creating hope and opportunity for vulnerable people, particularly at this time of increased need.

“We know that people want to help and hope that those who feel they can, donate to help people who are struggling to keep themselves and their families safe and housed. Each donation goes towards ensuring our dedicated frontline staff can provide quality support to people in need, while also providing compassion and care for vulnerable people this Christmas and into the new year,” said Ms Callister.

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 organisation has almost 2,300 staff and 465 services, and invests in housing, services and programs to help Australia end homelessness and ensure communities in need can thrive.

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