Wollongong Homeless Hub thrown a lifeline from government

Wollongong Emergency Family Housing manager Julie Mitchell is relieved at the hub's survival. Behind her, hub staff members Kim Brown (left) and Loekie Klevjer (right) share the good news with clients John and Natasha Wyss outside the Crown St Wollongong premises. Picture: KIRK GILMOUR

Wollongong Emergency Family Housing manager Julie Mitchell is relieved at the hub's survival. Behind her, hub staff members Kim Brown (left) and Loekie Klevjer (right) share the good news with clients John and Natasha Wyss outside the Crown St Wollongong premises. Picture: KIRK GILMOUR

The Wollongong Homeless Hub will survive until at least 2016, after a last-minute funding injection from the state government.

The hub, a project between Wollongong Emergency Family Housing (WEFH) and Wollongong Women's Housing, had been facing closure after both agencies were denied funding in recent state homelessness reforms.

Organisations unsuccessful in the Going Home Staying Home reforms were eligible to apply for 18 months' interim funding under the Service Support Fund, with the Homeless Hub receiving almost $350,000.

"It will let us keep the hub open until January 2016," said WEFH manager Julie Mitchell.

"We're extremely happy. It gives us security to keep helping the homeless."

The hub, on Crown Street in Wollongong, provides tenancy, housing and welfare assistance for the homeless, as well as access to computers, phones and fax machines.

John and Natasha Wyss had been living in their car for three months before being helped into private rental accommodation by the hub.

"We had a mattress in the trailer of our car, and we would sleep in the parking lot of a petrol station in Albion Park," Mr Wyss said.

"We are now renting a place in Warrawong. The hub helped us photocopy applications, use the phones and computer. They've given us so much help, I would recommend it to anyone."

Ms Mitchell said the hub hoped to expand its services to offer warm showers, and laundry and storage facilities.

The hub was looking for ways to become self-sufficient. It has two fund-raising events planned: one a fashion event hosted by Gateway Church at the Regent Theatre on September 13, and a talent quest in November at City Diggers. For more information, call the hub on 4244 4121.

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