Wollongong police sought to build stronger relationships with the region’s homeless population and support services on Friday.
Wollongong police joined with a number of lIllawarra services who assist people who are homeless, or facing the prospect of being homeless.
The event took place at the Wollongong Homeless Hub as part of Homelessness Week, which runs from August 7-13.
The aim of the event was to be an opportunity for members of the community who are dealing with homelessness or potential homelessness to access a range of services, as well as have a meal, wash clothing and access toiletries, clothing and food items.
Homeless Hub client Cheyenne Povey, 52, spent several years being homeless throughout the Illawarra, Sydney and Canberra.
“Every (homeless) individual is unique and different – some people seek help, some people seek services, some people abuse it and take advantage of it,” he said.
“As far as I’m concerned, you can be homeless and broke in Wollongong, but you can’t starve..
“There’s the Homeless Hub, Wesley Church, the Lighthouse, SWAG… The community’s pulling together to help out.”
In recent months, with the help of the Homeless Hub, he has been living in a Housing Trust boarding house in Wollongong.
Mandy Booker, manager of Wollongong Emergency Family Housing & Wollongong Homeless Hub said Mr Povey was looking to move into his own unit next week.
Chief inspector Darren Brown from the Wollongong Local Area Command said the event was part of a statewide initiative for Homelessness Week.
“Often the police are the first responders or the first point of contact (for homeless people), whether it be through things that happen on the street, domestic violence or things like that,” he said.
“(Today) gives us an opportunity to be able to refer people to places such as this who can help them out.
“(At today’s event) we can let the people that are homeless see us as someone who can help them, rather than not help them.”