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Local homelessness services Wattle Tree House, Veritas House and Housing Plus will host a free BBQ in Kings Parade on Friday, August 5 from 12noon as part of a number of activities taking place throughout the week to mark Homelessness Week. 

The event is designed as an opportunity for vulnerable residents to receive a free meal and learn about the services that are available, and for the wider community to have a conversation with agencies about what can be done locally to address homelessness. 

According to Wattle Tree House Client Service Officer, Sam Galliotas homelessness is not just a big city issue, with ABS data estimating that more than 10,000 people are experiencing homelessness in regional and rural NSW. 

“With housing prices skyrocketing and a lack of affordable rental homes, vulnerable people of all ages in communities like Bathurst are at increasing risk of homelessness,” said Sam. “Most are hidden from view through couch surfing and sleeping in cars, so it is easy to assume it doesn’t exist in a town like Bathurst, but that is not the case,” she explained. 

In addition to displays by the homelessness services, information packs will also be available from the Bathurst Library who have launched their ‘No Fixed Address Membership’ initiative during Homelessness Week, which includes the availability of library memberships for people who have no fixed address so they can still borrow resources and use the library facilities. 

Sam believes Homelessness Week is the chance for local residents to become aware of how to support a vulnerable person who may be at risk of homelessness.  

“We’re encouraging Bathurst residents to make themselves aware of local services like Wattle Tree House, Veritas House, Housing Plus and the Bathurst Library, so that any vulnerable person experiencing or at risk of homelessness can be connected to the services and supports they need. Our BBQ lunch will be a great opportunity to get this information and to have a conversation about what can be done to address the issue,” she said. 

Other local events and activities taking place throughout Homelessness Week include an information display at the Armada shopping centre, a free BBQ at Oberon and Harvest Café & Store will be selling cupcakes and raffle tickets all week as well as donating $1 from every hot drink sold this Friday towards StreetSmart Australia, a national charity that has supported Veritas House and other local homelessness services over recent years. 

The Homelessness Week BBQ has been supported by a range of organisations including Devro, Bernardi’s IGA, Bathurst Real Estate, Bunnings Bathurst, HopeCare, PFD Food Services, Country Fruit, Coles Bathurst, Barkers Butchery Oberon, Oberon Newsagency, Pick of The Bunch Oberon, Oberon Bakehouse, Lifeline, Mary McKillop, Bathurst Uniting Support Services, Mawhoods IGA Oberon and Swirl & Dip.