YFCC once again hosted a luncheon event in early August to mark Homelessness Week. Over 65 guests attended the luncheon held at the Argosy Hotel in East Devonport.

Guests included Hon. Guy Barnett MP, CEO of Shelter Tas Pattie Chugg, Simon Wood MP, Rebecca White MP, Anita Dow MP, Shane Broad MP, Leonie Hiscutt MLC, Mike Gaffney MLC, Devonport Mayor Annette Rockliff and a wide range of community service providers from across the state.

The objective of the luncheon was to provide awareness on the issue of homelessness in the State and to highlight the initiatives and services in place to support people experiencing homelessness.

Guest speaker, Bell Freestone, spoke about her experiences over the past few years and the journey she has taken in addressing a range of issues from mental health to securing safe and sustainable accommodation. Bell spoke about the supports she had received from various YFCC programs to help her on her journey to a more positive future. Her speech confirmed the belief that wrap around support services are essential to make a real difference for people experiencing homelessness.

Pattie Chugg, CEO of Shelter Tas,  then provided a summary of housing and homelessness statistics including private rental trends, social housing waiting lists and the impact this is having in the State. Pattie noted of the 4453 families on the waiting list for social housing, 1087 of these were on the NW coast. She also noted there were 164 properties in Devonport and Burnie advertised as short-term accommodation (AirBnB) as opposed to only 118 properties advertised for long term  rentals.

Minister for Housing, Guy Barnett, then spoke about the importance of addressing homelessness and the initiatives the Tasmanian Government are implementing. He spoke about the range of other social and personal issues that are impacted by homelessness, such as mental health and unemployment, and recognised YFCC’s work in ensuring wrap around supports for people to assist in achieving sustainable longer-term goals and aspirations.

Homelessness Week raises awareness of people experiencing homelessness, the issues they face, and the action needed to achieve enduring solutions. Events were held right across Tasmania by a range of organisations throughout Homelessness Week.