July 16, 2008 at 4:43 pm
The rising cost of living is forcing more people out of their homes and onto the street. A group of Centrelink employees have now taken it upon themselves to spend a night sleeping in a car park
to raise $10,000 for local charities.
Over the past 12 months, the number of people turning to crisis centres in the Hunter has doubled. The need for emergency accommodation, food and funds has become so dire, even the biggest organisations are feeling the strain.
The Samaritans Helen Fielding says, “We’re finding it really difficult just to make ends meet ourselves in that area, you know to be able to service people in the way that they deserve to be.”
Charities say the sky-rocketing cost of living is even hurting those that traditionally don’t need help.
“Not only more families groups but more professional people as well, people that typically weren’t in the stereotypical situation for homelessness,”
according to Brian Kennaugh from Wesley Newcastle City Mission.
To raise awareness of the issue, as well as $10,000 for the Samaritans and Wesley Newcastle City Mission, 40 Centrelink staff plan to spend a night sleeping in a car park next month.
Rugby League Legend Arty Beetson launched the fund raising event, and is using his influence to try and get more people and organisations behind it. He said, “This is a wonderful cause, and you know, for a town as rich as Newcastle, it’s a great city, they’ve got a great football side, I might say the Knights, and it’s something that they should get behind.”
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