Homelessness Week: Surf at Home Appeal launched in Port Macquarie-Hastings

Campaign to shine spotlight on homelessness impact

A new campaign has been launched by welfare services in the Port Macquarie-Hastings region amid concerns voiced about the COVID-19 pandemic's economic impact.

The Surf at Home Appeal will run from Sunday, August 2 until Saturday, August 8 as part of Homelessness Week.

It encourages the community to raise funds for people living without a home in the Port Macquarie-Hastings area.

A man who is currently sleeping rough in the Camden Haven and who didn't want to be named, said the COVID-19 pandemic has resulted in more people being isolated and having to leave certain areas due to the shutdown of certain facilities.

The man, who has his own caravan and vehicle, said he was one of the fortunate ones as he was able to travel to seek out vital services such as bathroom facilities.

However he knew of others who were forced to sleep rough in the bush because they didn't have any other option available to them.

The man said people who are homeless are often called the 'forgotten people'.

He said there is a lot more the government could be doing to help people doing it tough, but they aren't seen as a priority as a minority group within society.

Camden Haven Community at 3 chairperson Theo Hazelgrove said the COVID-19 pandemic meant for a number of weeks the group couldn't hold their weekly barbecue at the Laurieton United Services Club for people in need.

Instead, he said volunteers took food, clothing and bedding to people who they knew needed assistance.

Mr Hazelgrove raised concerns about the mental health of people doing it tough and said unfortunately during the pandemic they became more isolated than ever.

He said he's expecting more people to be experiencing financial difficulty once the government stops providing assistance from September.

There are a number of businesses in the Camden Haven who are accepting donations for the organisation to help people through the winter months.

New Horizons helped to launch the Surf at Home Appeal campaign and team leader Cassandra Preston said the campaign will help raise awareness of the issue, which she said is prevalent in the Port Macquarie-Hastings region.

For more information about the Surf at Home Appeal and how to register, please visit the Port Macquarie Hastings Homelessness Awareness Facebook page.

Community members can help raise funds by sleeping on their couch for seven nights during Homelessness Week from August 2 until August 8.

People can also donate directly to the cause by visiting the The Surf@Home Appeal gofundme website page.

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