A man sleeps rough on bench outside the post office in the Warwick CBD. Homelessness and the housing shortage are issues that are affecting a number of people in the Southern Downs community.
A man sleeps rough on bench outside the post office in the Warwick CBD. Homelessness and the housing shortage are issues that are affecting a number of people in the Southern Downs community. Marian Faa

Community support needed for next week's homeless sleepout

COMMUNITY Action Gympie has called for local support as it ramps up the annual homelessness sleepout campaign taking place next Friday night.

Since joining forces with the Gympie State High School Year 10 leadership team to develop a theme based on Random Acts of Kindness, the not-for-profit organisation has progressed its planning to hold the sleepout at the Gympie Showgrounds for the third straight year.

Community Action housing services manager Michelle Hine thanked the student leaders and detailed what would take place on the night.

Community Action Gympie manager Michelle Hine.
Community Action Gympie manager Michelle Hine. Renee Albrecht

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Homeless bands Gympie High students Charlotte Jones, Lee Cleary, Amelia Elliott, Abbey Ward, Rachel Stevens, Olivia gablonzki, mikayla Betts and Bianca Gablonzki.
Homeless bands Gympie High students Charlotte Jones, Lee Cleary, Amelia Elliott, Abbey Ward, Rachel Stevens, Olivia gablonzki, mikayla Betts and Bianca Gablonzki. Renee Albrecht

"The kids have been great, they came up with the theme themselves and made wristbands to sell around the school to raise money for the cause,” Ms Hine said.

"They also made emergency kits with items they felt would be important to people in need, and some of those kits will be available on the night.

"We'll get together at the showgrounds between 6.30 and 7pm on the night, and we'll start off with some general discussions about homelessness.

"The Rapid Relief Team will be there to supply some delicious burgers for our meal, and then we'll make some houses out of cardboard as an activity before lights out at 10pm.”

Homeless lady Gale Morgan from the Six Mile Camping ground in Gympie.
Homeless lady Gale Morgan from the Six Mile Camping ground in Gympie. Renee Albrecht

Homeless Dan Seymour from the Six Mile Camping ground in Gympie.
Homeless Dan Seymour from the Six Mile Camping ground in Gympie. Renee Albrecht

Community Action have received "no indication” of how many people would attend the sleepout.

Ms Hine said that was "not uncommon” and "between 60 and 70 people” was an accurate estimate.

Anti-bullying campaigner and The Good Fight Australia co-founder Murray Benton has been confirmed as the MC of the event.

Ms Hine said she hoped enough awareness would be raised for Community Action to increase its push for housing services in the region.

"This has been an issue in Gympie for 20 years, we're sick of talking about the same problem and not doing anything,” she said.

"We're really hoping we can keep this issue in people's minds, and the sleepout is a big way of doing that.

"Our long-term goal is to be able to provide a facility or some kind of shelter for people with nowhere to go at night, but we're always working to help in any way we can, such as through buying backpack beds to supply locally or events like the sleepout.”

In a report released yesterday, Mission Australia said just over one in seven young Queenslanders surveyed had experienced homelessness.

In March, The Australian Bureau of Statistics revealed a 71 per cent spike in the rate of homelessness over the past five years in Gympie.

If you're interested in attending the sleepout on Friday, August 10 or making a donation you can phone Community Action on 5482 8959.

Gympie Times


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