Tamworth Homeless Connect Day looking to end cycle

Over 900 people passed through the doors of the TRECC on Thursday as 44 services got together for a one stop shop for people facing homelessness.

The sixth annual Homeless Connect Day was the perfect fusion of help and fun, as the integral services were mixed with free food, coffee and entertainment, as well as a haircut.

Homeless Connect media liaison and organiser Leigh Smith said it was bitter sweet to get so many people through the door.

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“It is a really good thing that they are coming her and getting the right information they need,” he said.

“But is is also very sad to see that there are so many. We had more through the door in the first half hour than we had the first year.”

There were a full suite of services available including financial, medical, legal, housing, mental health, employment, education, identification and electoral enrolment, as well as recreation.

In the past the day has also proved successful in getting the individual services to network in order to both compliment one and other, as well as learn more about current issues from differing perspectives.

“All the service tables have had people at them all day which is good to see that people are seeking help,” Mr Smith said.

“The worst thing people can do is not seek help.

It is really good to see so many people getting the right information .... at the same time it is sad to see that there are so many.

Leigh Smith

Drug, alcohol and mental health issues are some of the major factors for people battling homelessness in the current day, although the Tamworth Family Support business manager said it doesn’t always happen in that order.

“For the two out of three homeless people that have drug, alcohol and mental health issues, those issues only occurred after they were homeless,” Mr Smith said.

“That then becomes a huge barrier for them to be able to get out of homelessness again.

“That is why it is so important that people approaching homelessness or who are homeless seek help as soon as they can – there are plenty of services to help with whatever they need.”

The Primeth Brethren Church backed Rapid Response Team rolled in and fired the barbecue and coffee machines up early, serving over 400 bacon and egg rolls, 600 burgers and more than 800 coffees on the day.

Team leader Trent Firth said it is all about supporting people in a time of need.

Meanwhile five trainee barbers and supervisors from the Joblink Plus backed 2340 Barber were on track to give out 100 free haircuts to men over the day, while the line-up for ladies never ended.