Ease for rough sleepers

HELPING THE COMMUNITY

A donation from the CWA might not seem like an out of-the-ordinary occurrence, however a recent donation of specialised backpack bags to Barnardos Mudgee could mean the difference between sleeping under shelter or in the open for some sleeping rough in Mudgee.

Each backpack bag offers something more than the sum of its parts. Packed up they can be carried like a backpack and feature lockable compartments for valuables. They can be rolled out and slept on and in extreme conditions can be used as a tent.

The CWA Evening Branch donated 12 of these backpacks which they purchased and gave directly to Mudgee Barnardos to make sure they benefit people in the region.

CWA Publicity Officer, Anne Johnston said they hoped to be able to donate more in the future, with the number of people sleeping rough is much higher than most people expect in the region.

"I see local and state governments spending money on all these things like stadiums or bridges, but I think there really need to be a reassessment of the places money is spent in the region.

There are people sleeping in our parks, under those bridges, in hay sheds and couch surfing." Mrs Johnston said.

Barnardos Mudgee Program Manager, Kate Cormie said the backpacks come at a time when the number of adults and children sleeping rough in the region is on the rise.

"At Barnardos, we've noticed an increase in the number of adults and young adults without children who are sleeping rough or couch surfing with very little to no possessions," Mrs Cormie said.

This is compounded by the fact that almost all rental properties in the region are totally inaccessible for those on a low income.

"There are a lot of residents in Mudgee that are working and possibly might even have two incomes that are still finding it hard to get approved for a property or sustain their tenancy," Mrs Cormie said.

"It varies for people, but someone on Newstart would be earning about $520 a fortnight, which is just not enough to cover rent."

Barnardos says if you'd like to help, the best things to donate are non-perishable foods and gift vouchers. Call Barnardos Mudgee for more information.

(This article first appeared in the Mudgee Guardian & Gulgong Advertiser)

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