NSW Police have put their best foot forward as they join Mission Australia to launch a charity drive in support of Homelessness Week 2016.
Homelessness Week is an annual awareness campaign – coordinated by Homelessness Australia – that begins today (Monday 1 August), and continues until Sunday (7 August 2016). It aims to raise awareness of people experiencing homelessness and the issues these people face.
As part of the police charity drive, officers from Local Area Commands across the state are donating their second-hand police boots, which will be collected by Mission Australia and distributed to those in need.
Local police stations have established drop-off sites, which will remain in place throughout Homelessness Week and the month of August, before the donations are collected for delivery.
NSW Police Central Metropolitan Region Spokesperson on Vulnerable Communities, Superintendent Allan Sicard, said the NSW Police is proud to take part in this initiative with Mission Australia.
“Commands across the state have thrown their support behind the charity drive; the leather boots are very comfortable, they’re of great quality certainly have plenty of life left in them,” Supt Sicard said.
“We ran a similar drive a few years ago and it had a fantastic response, so we’re pleased to be showing our support again for Mission Australia and Homelessness Week in 2016.”
Supt Sicard said police work closely with other Government and Non-Government resources to respond to issues associated with homelessness and assist with referrals to relevant support services.
“In our day-to-day job we often have contact with vulnerable individuals in our community, including those who find themselves without a home,” Supt Sicard said.
“When working with vulnerable people, our most important role is putting them in touch with helpful service providers and other support networks that may help them in finding a way out of homelessness.
“We also know early intervention is integral to addressing this issue. It’s far more effective to offer assistance for families and children before they become homeless – this is where community groups can provide initial support, for instance,” Supt Sicard said.
Supt Sicard said it’s important to recognise that people experiencing homelessness are valuable members of our community too, and often times they’ve been left with impossible choices that have contributed to their living situations.
“There are many social, economic and health-related factors that can lead to homelessness. This can include a shortage of affordable housing, financial problems, relationship issues, unemployment, serious illness or drug/alcohol problems,” Supt Sicard said.
“Domestic violence is also a considerable issue that can result in homelessness. Every week thousands of women, many times with children, escape abusive partners with nowhere to go and no other accommodation options.
“This is what Homelessness Week is about – raising awareness about these issues, shedding the stigma and understanding that being homeless is not a choice,” Supt Sicard said.
“For many Australians, the risk of losing their home can be a simple pay slip away, which is why community discussion and supporting service providers is so important.”
Mission Australia’s NSW State Director, Ben Carblis said Mission Australia is thankful for the support from Local Area Commands across NSW.
“The partnership between Mission Australia and the NSW Police Force Boot Drive is a great initiative that provides homeless people with quality leather boots from their local police,” Mr Carblis said.
“An adequate pair of shoes is something we often take for granted, but for those vulnerable people living in tough conditions, quality shoes are vital to manage foot health.
“This is one way we can ease the suffering of those who are homeless, particularly during the colder winter months,” Mr Carblis said.
Learn more about Homelessness Week 2016, as well as helpful facts and support information, by visiting: http://www.homelessnessaustralia.org.au/index.php/events/hpw/homelessness-week-2016
If you, or someone you know, is seeking information on homelessness services you can call Link2Home on 1800 152 152.
Link2Home is a single, state-wide telephone service for homelessness inquiries in NSW that offers access to specialised support and accommodation services.