Newcastle to hold its first Registry Week for homeless

RIGHT DIRECTION: Newcastle Registry Week spokesperson Belinda McDaid said the outreach rough sleeper survey would be conducted in October.

RIGHT DIRECTION: Newcastle Registry Week spokesperson Belinda McDaid said the outreach rough sleeper survey would be conducted in October.

THE individual needs of the homeless will be documented as part of Newcastle’s first Registry Week.

On October 18-20 people sleeping rough in Newcastle will be surveyed in an effort to find out how many homeless people there are and what is needed to help them find suitable housing.

Newcastle Registry Week spokesperson Belinda McDaid, from the St Vincent de Paul Society, said while it was a first for Newcastle, the event was developed in New York in 1990 and it ran in Sydney, Brisbane, Melbourne, Adelaide, Perth and Canberra.

“We are launching it in Newcastle this year because it has been really successful in Australia,” Ms McDaid said. “Within a year of the first Registry Week in Brisbane in 2010, 50 of the city’s chronically homeless people had permanent housing. Since then the focus has remained on accommodating rough sleepers.”

She said the survey was a proven method to produce solid data on people sleeping rough.

“Housing is their primary requirement because people need to feel safe, secure and stable before you can work on other things, like health and substance abuse,” Ms McDaid said.

Newcastle Registry Week is funded by Nova for Women and Children through NSW’s Family and Community Services and is co-ordinated by the St Vincent de Paul Society. The Mercy Foundation and Micah Projects are also involved.

“I hope that as Newcastle’s Registry Week picks up momentum more organisations, businesses and individuals will come on board,” Ms McDaid said.

“With this in mind we have designed the tag line ‘Together ending homelessness – Newcastle’.

“There are plenty of ways to get involved, by volunteering for Registry Week, reporting a rough sleeper, donating a suspended coffee or meal or providing a room or property.”

For more information email mtcwickham@vinnies.org.au or phone 4961 1411. 

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